French Court Acquits Sami Al-Kurdi, Former Free Army Leader

Assad forces defector Sami Al-Kurdi has been acquitted of crimes against humanity, writes Al-Souria Net.

The French judiciary threw out a lawsuit against the officer who defected from the Bashar al-Assad forces and the former spokesperson for the Free Army in the Central Region, Sami al-Kurdi.

On Saturday, France 24 said, “on January 25, an anti-terrorism investigative judge issued a ruling dismissing the case against Sami al-Kurdi, who was suspected of committing crimes against humanity since 2017.”

France 24 added that the judge ordered halting the prosecutions against Kurdi, after a judicial investigation was opened in April 2017 into “crimes against humanity, torture, and war crimes.”

Kurdi is one of the officers who defected from the Assad forces and emerged during the battles between the Free Army and the regime forces in 2012 in Homs.

Kurdi’s story dates back to March 2012, when he released a video announcing his defection from Assad’s forces, which he described as “the forces of killing and destruction.”

Kurdi, who was born in the city of Talkalakh in the countryside of Homs, had the rank of Maj. Gen. from the 11th tank division and Commander of the 135th regiment missile company, before he defected.

Kurdi subsequently joined the Military Council in the Central Region of the Free Army and became its official spokesperson in the region.

He became prominent through the media, by talking about the battles with the Assad forces in the region and the factions’ control at that time over large swaths of Homs and its countryside.

In October 2013, Kurdi left Syria for France with his wife and three children.

He then submitted an asylum application, and the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) referred his case to the courts, on suspicion of committing “crimes against humanity, torture, and war crimes.”

According to the court, “no victim has ever testified, and no specific crime can be attributed to him, for according to his legal file, Kurdi chose exile instead of crimes.”

This came days after a German court in Koblenz issued its verdict against a former member of Assad’s intelligence, Eyad al-Gharib, accused of participating in committing war crimes.

The defendant’s family rejected the court’s decision and said it will appeal it given that Gharib defected early from the intelligence service, refusing to participate in the crackdown. He added that there is no claim against him and that the court had relied on his testimony to condemn the Assad regime for suppressing the demonstrations and torturing detainees.

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