Khedr A. K. and Sami A. S.
Conviction for international crimes committed by members of non- state armed groups in Syria
Type of jurisdiction
Khedr. A. K. and Sami A. S, Syrian nationals, members of an organized armed group in Syria
Country of residence of suspects
War crimes; murder; membership in a foreign terrorist organization
Convicted; sentences confirmed
According to the judgment, Khedr A. K. joined the group “Ghuraba’a Mohassan” in the Syrian village of Mohassan in the spring of 2012, which became part of the foreign terrorist organization “Jabhat al-Nusra”. On 10 July 2012, both defendants participated in the execution of a lieutenant colonel in the Syrian armed forces who had previously been captured during violent clashes between opposition groups and the Syrian army. The victim, who visibly suffered from severe mistreatment, was killed by multiple gunshots as a representative of the Assad regime. Khedr A. K. was among the prisoner’s guards and shielded the execution. Sami A. S. filmed the execution of the victim and commented on it in a glorifying manner in a video published online shortly thereafter.
On 10 July 2020, an investigative judge of the Federal Court issued an arrest warrant against Khedr A. K. and Sami A. S. They were subsequently arrested in Naumburg (Saale) and Essen (North Rhine- Westphalia), respectively, on 13 July 2020.
On 16 December 2020, the German Federal Public Prosecutor issued a formal indictment against the accused.
On 26 August 2021, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf found Khedr A. K. guilty of war crimes by murder in conjunction with murder and membership in a foreign terrorist organization. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Sami A. S. was found guilty of aiding and abetting these crimes in conjunction with supporting a terrorist organization abroad. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.
DEVELOPMENTS IN 2022
On 5 April 2022, the Federal Court of Justice largely dismissed the defendants’ appeals, with the result that both sentences of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf are now final.