Anwar al-Bunni, the Syrian “criminal hunter”, behind a historic trial in Germany

For the first time in the world, a Syrian officer in Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been convicted of his abuses. A trial made possible, thanks, in particular, to Anwar al-Bunni, a Syrian lawyer, who became a tireless investigator of the crimes of the regime.

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This is a historic first: German justice sentenced an ex-agent of the Syrian intelligence service to four and a half years in prison on Wednesday February 24 for “complicity in crimes against humanity”. The Koblenz Regional High Court found Eyad al-Gharib guilty of participating in the arrest in September or October 2011 of at least 30 demonstrators in Douma, near Damascus, and their transfer to a service detention center intelligence.

This trial, the first in the world to judge the abuses attributed to the regime of Bashar al-Assad, owes a lot to Anwar al-Bunni. This 62-year-old Syrian lawyer has been a refugee in Berlin for almost seven years. Since then, he has collected testimonies, identified those responsible, gathered evidence and put together court cases. For this Koblenz trial, he brought 24 testimonies from victims, in addition to his own.

The lawyer spends his time receiving messages, reports, screenshots, photos of horrors. Anwar al-Bunni must then carry out research and verification work. “It’s my life, he believes. The heroes are all these witnesses, these victims who tell their story, even if it costs them. No matter the pain, and if it could endanger their families in Syria. “These witnesses “are even more numerous since the media coverage of the Koblenz trial”.

“What is happening in Koblenz is a game changer for dictators around the world.”

Anwar al-Bunni

to franceinfo

“They thought they were safe, that has changed. All these dictators today are afraid”, he said with a big smile. German justice is the first to seize the file of the exactions of the Syrian regime, which Anwar al-Bunni describes as “devilish machine”. He has filed cases in several European countries, including France, Sweden, Norway and Austria.

Portrait of Anwar al-Bunni, the Syrian “criminal hunter”

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