‘Historic’ conviction for former secret police officer



Stuff NZ Newspapers



A former Syrian secret police officer was convicted by a German court yesterday of crimes against humanity for overseeing the abuse of detainees at a jail near Damascus a decade ago, a ruling the top United Nations human rights official described as ‘‘historic.’’ Anwar Raslan is the highest-ranking Syrian official so far convicted of the charge. The verdict was keenly anticipated by those who suffered abuse or lost relatives at the hands of President Bashar Assad’s government in Syria’s long-running conflict. ‘‘This trial cast a muchneeded, renewed spotlight on the kinds of sickening torture, cruel and truly inhuman treatment – including abject sexual violence – that countless Syrians were subjected to in detention facilities,’’ the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said.