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Aria Ladjedvardi was born in Germany in 1995, in his Iranian family. He became radicalised while living in Germany. He traveled to Syria, where he joined jihadist groups in the Idlib province from March to April 2014.
Between 8 March and 16 April 2014, a jihadist group attacked a checkpoint in the Idlib Province. They captured, beheaded and impaled the heads of two soldiers on spikes before putting them on public display. After Ladjedvardi’s return to Germany, one of his fellow fighters uploaded on Facebook three pictures of him allegedly posing with the severed heads of enemy combatants, together with another man known to be involved with jihadist groups in Syria.
The accused was arrested on 14 October 2015 and charged with war crimes under the German International Criminal Code, for gravely humiliating and degrading treatment of protected persons.
The trial started on 3 May 2016 before the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main.
On 12 July 2016, the Court decided that the trophy-like treatment of the severed heads and the knowledge of the fact that viewing such photos would horrify a reasonable person demonstrated the intent to mock the dead. The judges rejected the defence’s claim according to which the accused was forced to pose for the photos and was only in Syria to provide aid.
Ladjedvardi was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for war crimes consisting of the degrading and humiliating treatment of protected persons under International Humanitarian Law.