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Austria jails Syrian rebel fighter for killing soldiers

By: dpa (TNS), Associated Press
May 10, 2017 Updated: May 10, 2017 at 9:34 pm
0

VIENNA — A fighter for a group affiliated with the Free Syrian Army was jailed for life in Austria on Wednesday for murdering 20 unarmed and injured Syrian government soldiers.

In a ruling released late Wednesday, the district court in Innsbruck said the conviction was supported by the transcript of an interrogation in which the 27-year-old confessed to the crimes.

The man had later recanted and said it had been a translation error.

However, the jury accepted the prosecution's argument that the evidence against him was "overwhelming."

According to Der Standard newspaper, the original interpreter was called to give evidence at the trial.

"He said he had shot dead badly injured soldiers," he was quoted as telling the court. "I even asked him again and he confirmed it."

The interpreter said the transcript of the man's interrogation had been translated back into Arabic for him and he had signed every page of it.

The man, who before fleeing to Europe had lived in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, denied the killings in court in February.

He said that he and his brother had taken part in anti-government demonstrations and had been tortured.

"The regime killed my brother," he said. "I had a weapon to defend myself and my family."

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©2017 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany)

Visit Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) at www.dpa.de/English.82.0.html

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Topics: t000202947,t000003763,t000203153,t000003780

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