Pursuing Extradition of Hassan, Germany Stands Strong on Human Rights

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Saturday, March 16, 2019
Alex Psilakis

On February 23, 2019, the German publication Der Spiegel reported that Germany asked Lebanon to extradite Jamil Hassan, a former high-level official in Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime. Hassan, who was the chief of the Air Force Intelligence Directorate, reportedly entered Lebanon for medical treatment, though no Lebanese official has confirmed his location since. German federal prosecutors have had an arrest warrant out against Hassan since June 2018, alleging that he carried out crimes against humanity while serving as intelligence chief. The Air Force Intelligence Directorate is viewed as one of the most powerful positions in Syria, as it oversees many detention centers that torture thousands of individuals. The U.S. and European powers have long had their eyes on Hassan: France issued an international arrest warrant for Hassan in May 2018, and in 2011, the U.S. sanctioned him for his alleged involvement in the violent suppression of Syrian protestors. Nevertheless, this move by Germany is the strongest step yet taken by a Western power to arrest and try Hassan for his alleged crimes.