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2017 | Swedish criminal case against Mohammed Abdallah

Given the absence of an English language transcript of a Swedish Court’s decision[1], this article by The Washington Post provides valuable information of the criminal case against a soldier of the Syrian regime named Mohammed Abdallah and the Syrian activists’ involvement therein.

Based on information provided by Syrian refugees and activists, Mohammed Abdullah was arrested in Sweden on 23 February 2016, and accused of committing war crimes in Syria. While admitting to have worked for the Syrian regime forces as medical officer, he denied taking part in the fighting. In March 2016, he was released without charge due to a lack of corroborating evidence.

On 14 September 2017, additional evidence was brought before the Swedish prosecutor by Syrian activists. The prosecution was undertaken on the basis of universal jurisdiction[2] and eventually, Abdallah was sentenced to 8 months in prison for violating the personal dignity of five dead people. The Swedish prosecutor was unable to prove that Abdallah also took part in harming the victims.

The Nuhanovic Foundation Syria database additionally contains a report done by the Syrian Al-Kawakibi organization, responsible for providing evidence of Mohammed Abdallah to Swedish prosecutors.


[1] Prosecutor v. Mohammad Abdullah, Södertörn District Court, Case B 11191-17, Judgment of September 25, 2017.

[2] Here, jurisdiction refers to the legal competence of courts to adjudicate. Universal jurisdiction is limited to specific (heinous) crimes an can be exercised by any state, irrespective of the national involved or the location of the act.