Prosecutor seeks 27 years in jail for military execution by Syrian refugee
Prosecutors have demanded a 27-year prison sentence for Syrian refugee Ahmad al K. for his role in the execution of a Syrian soldier. The victim was killed with a large number of shots in Syria in 2021 in what the court has deemed a war crime. Adding to the sentence is Al K.’s involvement in leading the terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra, NOS reported.
The defendant fled to the Netherlands in 2013 after deserting Syrian President Baschar al-Assad’s army. After deserting he is suspected of joining Jabhat al-Nusra. During his time in the terrorist organization, he is said to have executed the soldier.
In a nine-minute video that was shown during the trial the gravely injured and handcuffed soldier can be seen being driven in a jeep to the bank of the Euphrates River where he was shot 26 times by different people.
Al K. stated he was forced to participate in the shooting and that he deliberately missed the target. Yet, according to Public Prosecutors Al K. shot the victim at least once. Al K. himself admitted that his voice can be heard in the execution video.
Al K. was arrested in Kapelle in Zeeland in 2019. He had lived in town for multiple years with his wife and children. Many residents were shocked by the arrest. He was known as a friendly man who played for the local football club and went to church.
The Dutch Public Prosecution Service has been investigating war crimes in Syria for multiple years. Investigations are often hindered due to the fact that evidence cannot be gathered in Syria itself.
Al K.’s crimes can be prosecuted based on the principle of universal jurisdiction which was incorporated into Dutch law 18 years ago. It allows for suspects of genocide and war crimes to be prosecuted in the Netherlands, although they committed the crime in a different country. Previously suspects of war crimes from Rwanda and Bosnia have also been tried in the Netherlands.