A Dutch citizen was tortured by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The man from Arnhem was detained for at least four years and likely died. This is clear from the testimonies of former cellmates and information from the Red Cross and the Syrian regime Norwegian Refugee Council†
Arnhemmer disappeared in Lebanon in May 2013. A year later, he appeared in a Syrian cell. The Assad regime suspected him of spying and communicating with terrorists, among other things, and brutally tortured him. “He screamed so loudly that sometimes the guards would stop,” a former cellmate told the newspaper.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norwegian Refugee Council At the time, she did not interfere. The Netherlands has not had diplomatic relations with the Assad regime since 2012, and has not used the option of assisting an Arnhem citizen through the Romanian embassy in Damascus.
I came out of the cell unconscious.
Two of his former colleagues told the newspaper that after four years of torture, the man would have been taken out of the cell unconscious in mid-2018. He was then transferred for the last time and died in detention, a senior Syrian regime officer said. Norwegian Refugee Council†
This would make the Arnhemmer case the first known case of a Dutch national being tortured by the Assad regime. The victim’s Dutch citizenship now increases the chance that prosecutors will open an investigation against his torturers, even if they are still in Syria.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also hopes to include the case in the Netherlands’ responsibility to Syria for torture. This action could lead to a case being brought before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The man was born in 1983, to Moroccan parents and raised in the Arnhem district of Malburgen. He is said to have taken Arabic lessons at Radboud University in Nijmegen and worked in the healthcare field.
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