DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:10 P.M.) – A former ‘Free Syrian Army’ rebel fighter turned refugee has been sentenced to life in jail in the Austrian city of Innsbruck. The regional court found the man guilty of having murdered 20 captured Syrian Army soldiers in Syria’s central province of Homs.
The 27-year-old man had been boasting about his deeds to fellow asylum seekers. He was arrested last year when another Syrian national reported him to authorities. Killing prisoners of war is prohibited under the Geneva Convention.
After previously admitting in writing to the killings, the asylum seeker withdrew his confession in court. However, he was found guilty nonetheless by a five to three vote.
The court asserted that the executions of the “wounded and defenseless” government troops took place in 2013 and 2014 in the city of Homs and its surroundings.
According to Austrian Law, the man would have to spend at least 15 years in jail. It was unclear whether the man would seek to appeal the sentence.
In a similar case in Germany, a former rebel fighter stands accused of having murdered 36 government soldiers and policemen.