Scorch Trial: Doctor Who Torched Men’s Genitals In Syrian War Charged With Crimes Against Humanity

The Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main located in the city of Frankfurt in Germany where the Syrian doctor Alaa Moussa was charged with crimes against humanity on July 15, 2021. (OLG Frankfurt am Main/Zenger)

A Syrian doctor has been charged with crimes against humanity for allegedly torturing people in military hospitals in his homeland and killing at least one of his victims.

The physician Alla Mousa, who moved to the German state of Hesse in 2015, is accused of 18 counts of torment and is charged with murder, severe bodily harm, attempted bodily harm and dangerous bodily harm for crimes committed in the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus, according to a statement from the Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Karlsruhe, Germany. He was arrested on June 19, 2020.

Prosecutors accuse Mousa of molesting and killing at least one injured civilian who was associated with the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad sits at a desk at the Arab Summit March 27, 2002, in Beirut, Lebanon. Syrian doctor Alla Mousa was charged by German prosecutors on July 15, 2021, with crimes against humanity for allegedly torturing people in military hospitals during the uprising against Assad in 2011 and 2012. (Courtney Kealy/Getty Images)

Mousa allegedly poured alcohol over the genitals of a teenage boy and another man and set fire to them with a cigarette lighter at military hospital No. 608 in Homs.

Mousa is also alleged to have kicked another patient’s open, infected wound, poured disinfectant into it and set it on fire.

He allegedly tortured people by hanging them from the ceiling and beating them using a plastic baton at the same hospital in 2011.

The indictment alleges that Mousa beat another prisoner who was suffering an epileptic seizure, and drugged him a few days later without the exact cause of death ever being clearly identified.

In one case in 2012, Mousa allegedly beat and kicked an inmate severely. When the man tried to defend himself by kicking back, Mousa injected a toxic substance into him with the help of a male nurse, according to the complaint.

In addition to the torture allegations at the military hospital in Homs, Mousa is also accused of abusing prisoners at the military hospital Mezzeh No. 601 in the city of Damascus between late 2011 and March 2012.

“Grave crimes against Syria’s civil society are not only taking place in the detention centers of the intelligence services: Syria’s torture and extermination system is complex and only exists thanks to the support of a wide variety of actors,” Wolfgang Kaleck, General Secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, said in a statement. “With the trial [of Mousa], the role of military hospitals and medical staff in this system could be addressed for the very first time.”

Kaleck noted the trial could also be important in terms of addressing sexual violence.

“Sexual violence is being used as a weapon — systematically and intentionally — against the opposition in Syria,” he said. “Those affected not only suffer physical and psychological consequences but are also stigmatized and discriminated by society.”

Mousa’s trial “could make them seen and thus also send an important signal to the many survivors who have remained silent until now,” he said.

Edited by Lishu Tang and Kristen Butler



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