Interview: Mazen Darwish

The human rights lawyer helped to prosecute a former officer of the Assad regime for crimes against humanity. He tells Mike Higgins about the landmark case.

The World Today Updated 3 August 2022 Published 1 April 2022 3 minute READ

Mazen Darwish

Human rights lawyer, Director, Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression

Mazen Darwish fled to Europe from Syria after being imprisoned and tortured by the Assad regime. In January, he was part of the legal team in Germany that prosecuted the Syrian former intelligence officer Anwar Raslan for crimes against humanity. 

How did you feel on the day of Anwar Raslan’s conviction? 

We turned up at 5:30am to make sure we got into the court to hear the verdict, but there were already two dozen people there. The first person in the queue told me he had arrived at 3am.

It was a very emotional moment, and an important one. It’s about much more than Anwar Raslan. This is the first time there is a verdict in an independent court of law confirming what really happened in Syria. It’s not just a political judgment or what we victims say happened. For 10 years we have been trying to reveal the truth. I feel that the world will now understand me when I talk about what has been going on in Syria.

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