Mouhannad Droubi

08.05.2016 ( Last modified: 06.01.2017 )
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facts

 

During the actual Syrian civil war, Droubi fought for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) against the government forces, loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In the summer of 2012, Droubi and other FSA militants assaulted an unidentified man allegedly affiliated with the Syrian army. According to a video uploaded to Facebook, Droubi violently assault the victim, who was already injured, while his hand and feet were bound. Droubi repeatedly punched the man on the head and body and hit him using a baton. He also threatened to cut off his tongue. Soon afterwards, Droubi uploaded a video depicting the incident to his Facebook page.

Droubi travelled to Sweden as a refugee in September 2013. He received permanent residency and asylum status in Sweden in December 2013.

legal procedure

 

In July 2014, Swedish police discovered Mouhannad Droubi’s video of the assault. He was arrested on 4 October 2014 and indicted on 2 February 2015.

Droubi’s trial before the Södertörn District Court began on 10 February 2015 and lasted two days. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was tried under a statute that allows the state to prosecute permanent residents for certain crimes committed abroad, including war crimes.

On 26 February 2015, Droubi was convicted for “extremely gross assault and violation of international law” for violating the Common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, and customary international humanitarian law. He was sentenced to five years in prison. Swedish prosecutors successfully argued that Droubi’s actions amounted to torture and a war crime because the victim was “hors de combat,” and should have been treated as a prisoner of war.

The court said it would not order Droubi’s deportation because of the situation in Syria.

Both the Prosecutor and Droubi appealed the judgement.

On 26 February 2016, the Court of Appeal annulled the decision of first instance and ordered a new trial, after the previously unknown victim had been tracked down by a Swedish journalist and had brought new evidence before the Court.

On 11 May 2016, the District Court in Huddinge dismissed the war crime conviction after it emerged that the victim was not a pro-regime soldier but a member of the FSA, like Droubi himself. Without a demonstrated link between the beatings and the on-going armed conflict in Syria, the Court decided to judge Droubi under Swedish law instead of international law. Droubi was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for aggravated assault. The Court also ordered his deportation as soon as he has served his sentence and banned him from the country for life.

On 5 August 2016, the Stockholm Court of Appeal overturned this decision, considering that the crime denounced must be qualified as a war crime. Droubi was sentenced to 8 years of prison and the Court ordered his deportation as soon as he has served his sentence and banned him from the country for life, following completion of the sentence.