The daughter of a man who has been missing since 2013 has said that Germany’s conviction of a former Syrian intelligence officer should not absolve the international community of its inability to deal with President al Assad’s war crimes.
Anwar Raslan, who was granted asylum in Germany in 2014, has been jailed for life in Koblenz for murder, rape and crimes against humanity.
He was found guilty on 27 of the 58 charges laid in a Damascus prison run by a unit of the Syrian Security services. He denied all the charges.
Prosecutors said Raslan, 58, had overseen the “systematic and brutal torture” of thousands of detainees.
Judges ruled he was responsible for 27 deaths.
It was the first state-backed torture conviction during the war in Syria.
But Wafa Ali Mustafa told Sky News the conviction is an empty victory as she still doesn’t know if her Syrian father is still alive and where he could be held.
She said: “This condemnation is one of mixed emotions. It is good that the trial has taken place but it is a first, a very small step on a very long journey. And yet part of me is disappointed. .
“Nothing has changed internationally with regard to Syria. There has been no international action against Bashar al Assad.
“If the international community is unwilling to save people, then what is it saying about the world?
Wafa said his father Ali, who was a critic of the Syrian regime, went missing in July 2013. Neighbors told the family that a group of armed men seized him.
His family has not heard from him since, despite the time and money spent trying to locate him.
She told Sky News that the most painful thing is not knowing if he’s alive or dead. She said, “Living with this uncertainty is a form of torture.”
Wafa fled Syria a week after her father disappeared, first in Turkey before being granted asylum in Germany where she now lives.
“Zero faith in the international community”
She said that while many applauded Germany for the trial, which sentenced one of the president’s footmen, she felt angry and disappointed.
“I have no faith in the international community. I just thought, the minute the verdict came, that nothing has changed in my life.”
Wafa said she could not share the optimism of many after the verdict that this would lead to responsibility for Mr. Assad and his government.
She said: “I am afraid that this legal process is an alternative to dealing with Syria and stopping the regime.”
But she said she understands that it is still important to bring to justice those who fled Syria after carrying out Mr. Assad’s orders.
The Assad government denies torturing prisoners.