Syrian war crimes suspect held in Netherlands denies accusations
A 34-year-old man arrested in Kerkrade in May on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria in 2013 denies all charges against him. According to the authorities, Mustafa A. sided with the Syrian regime and committed war crimes.
“A made-up story,’ A. said in the court in The Hague on Friday during the first introductory hearing. A. said he indeed joined Liwa al-Qud, a militia that works closely with Syrian intelligence and the Russian armed forces, but only to defend the camp in which he was born and raised. A.’s lawyer, therefore, asked the court to release his client from custody, where he’s been since his arrest at the end of May.
But the court ruled that there are still sufficiently severe accusations against A. “Whether your participation in Liwa al-QWud was really only aimed at defending your family is a question that must be addressed during the substantive trial,” the judge said.
According to the prosecutor, this is the first time someone suspected to have sided with the Syrian regime has been arrested in the Netherlands.