THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Syrian refugee was arrested Friday in the Netherlands on suspicion of crimes against humanity including sexual violence while he was allegedly head of an interrogation team in a militia aligned to the government of President Bashar Assad.
The arrest of the 55-year-old man marks the first time Dutch authorities have charged a suspect with sexual violence as a crime against humanity, the National Public Prosecution Service said in a statement.
He is the latest suspect charged in the Netherlands with crimes committed during Syria’s grinding civil war. Under universal jurisdiction, the Netherlands can prosecute certain crimes even if they were committed abroad.
The Netherlands and Canada have also taken Syria to the United Nations’ top court, accusing Assad’s administration of a years-long campaign of “institutionalized” torture against its own people.
Following an investigation by the Dutch National Police’s International Crimes Team, prosecutors alleged that the man, whose identity was not released, was head of the interrogation department of the National Defense Force in the western…
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