Suspected commander of Jabhat al-Nusra battalion remanded in custody
24 mei 2019 - Landelijk Parket
The 47-year-old Syrian who was arrested on Tuesday in Kapelle, the Netherlands, on suspicion of committing war crimes and terrorist crimes in Syria was brought before the examining judge of the District Court in The Hague today and has been remanded in custody. This Court has been appointed to rule on cases concerning international crimes, including war crimes.
The man is accused of participating in the armed struggle as a commander of a terrorist Jabhat al-Nusra battalion.
The suspect has resided in the Netherlands since 2014 and was granted a temporary asylum permit. The criminal investigation against him started with information from the German police, who provided witness testimonies against the suspect. In July 2012, the English newspaper The Guardian allegedly published an interview with the suspect. Police investigation showed that the article supposedly presented him using his nom de guerre Abu Khuder.
The investigation revealed that the suspect had allegedly helped with the formation of one of the first battalions of the Free Syrian Army. After a short time, he became disillusioned and allegedly crossed over to Jabhat al-Nusra, swearing allegiance to this then branch of Al Qaida in Syria.
The battalion which the suspect allegedly commanded became known as Ghuraba’a Mohassan (Strangers of Mohassan). Ghuraba’a Mohassan is suspected of a number of terrorist crimes.
In addition to being a member of a terrorist organization, the man is also suspected of murder as a war crime. It is alleged that he participated in a summary execution of a Syrian lieutenant colonel in July 2012. Videos of this war crime circulated on the internet showing how a stripped-to-the-waist soldier who had been put hors de combat was brought to the banks of the Euphrates and shot dead. The police also investigates whether Abu Khuder has been involved in other war crimes.