Swedish resident found guilty of war crimes in Syria

1:17 min

A 46 year old man living in Sweden was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Syrian government soldiers on Thursday.

In 2012, the man was part of an armed rebel group in Syria which captured and killed seven government soldiers in the Idlib province.

Swedish police learned of these war crimes when an American newspaper posted a video showing the soldiers hands tied behind their backs and the accused holding an assault rifle prior to the executions. The man had confessed to shooting the soldiers, but claimed that the executions were legally ordered by a court of law.

The defense tried to prove that the accused had acted on orders from superiors and that the soldiers had been convicted of serious crimes themselves.

Judge Tomas Zander questioned the defense' claim considering the time between the soliders' capture and executions was only two days.

“A fair trial means that you have a right to counsel, the opportunity to call witnesses, receive reasonable notice, and have the right to appeal a ruling in the case that a judgement is made,” he told Swedish Radio. “There is no question that the time (between soldiers’ capture, trial, and execution) was short.”

The man sought asylum in Sweden in 2013 and had been living in Karlskrona ever since.