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2018 | The Syrian Observer - Austrian case against Khalid Halabi

2018 Austrian case against former Syrian official Khalid Halabi

An Austrian court began a lawsuit against Khalid Halabi, the former head of Syrian State Security of the Syrian intelligence, over his involvement in torture and several human rights abuses against detainees in Raqqa province. Given the absence of other sources on the case, this article by the Syrian Observer provides additional information on the legal case and the circumstances that led to it.

Khalid Halabi defected from the Syrian government’s security apparatus in 2013 when Raqqa fell under the control of opposition forces, and later traveled to France and Austria, where he sought asylum in 2015. While seeking asylum, several of his victims recognized him and informed authorities about the abuses and torture they had suffered under the authority of Khalid Halabi.

This short report demonstrates the legal effect, for suspected perpetrators, of seeking asylum or emigrating: once they find themselves in the territory of a third state that has incorporated International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law into its national legal system in order to remove jurisdictional gaps, they become easily accessible to the authorities of that State. See also the 2018 article by ECCHR on a ‘Complaint in Austria’ elsewhere in this section.