[JURIST] A Syrian rebel fighter was charged in Sweden Monday with war crimes for abusing a member of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s [BBC profiles] forces. The assault on the representative of Assad’s forces was not only carried out by this individual but also by other members of the Free Syrian Army. The suspect was indicted in Södertörn District Court [official website] on charges of war crimes and assault. He allegedly beat the prisoner and struck him with several objects, then posted the video of the assault on social media. The rebel, a 28-year-old who joined the Free Syrian Army in 2012, had applied for and received asylum within Sweden in 2013. The defense lawyer on the case reported that the Free Syrian Army rebel is claiming he was coerced. The prosecutors plan to use the video allegedly posted to social media as evidence. Swedish prosecutor Hannah Lemoine said that this is the first time they have filed charges against someone in connection with the Syrian Conflict.
The conflict in Syria [JURIST backgrounder], has continued for several years. In August the UN reported [JURIST report] that 191,000 have died in the Syrian conflict. In May Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] cited evidence [JURIST report] that the Syrian government was using chemical weapons on its own citizens. The UN human rights chief reported [JURIST report] in April that the Syrian government’s human rights abuses have far outweighed those of the rebel fighters in Syria. In June the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria [official website] warned [JURIST report] the UN Human Rights Council that the continuing civil war in Syria conflict has “reached a tipping point, threatening the entire region.” Earlier that month Assad declared [JURIST report] a general amnesty for the country’s prisoners, appearing to apply the decree to at least some anti-government activists and protesters.