German Jihadist Convicted of War Crime

2. Ilawyer photo - German Jihadist Guilty of War Crime

© Torsten Silz/AFP

The Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main, a Frankfurt Regional Court, has convicted Aria Ladjedvardi, a 21-year-old German Jihadist with Iranian roots, of two years in prison for committing a war crime for appearing in a set of photos with severed heads of Syrian army servicemen in Syria.

Indeed, between March 8 and April 16, 2014, a group of fighters attacked a checkpoint in the Idlib Province. According to the statement read by the court this Tuesday, they captured, beheaded and impaled the heads of two soldiers on spikes before putting them on public display.

The defendant posed with the heads of those soldiers in three photos found in his mother’s mobile phone, one of which was shared on the social network Facebook.

The Regional Court emphasized Mr Ladjevardi’s inacceptable behavior and held a violation of international humanitarian law for treating the two Syrian army soldiers “in a degrading and humiliating manner”.

Aria Ladjedvardi has been arrested by the German authorities in October 2015 in Frankfurt and his trial started in May 2016. He denied the accusation during the proceedings, alleging that he “didn’t want to be in the photograph”. According to him, they “were in a war zone“, consequently, “[he] did what [he] had to do in the situation“. Ladjevardi also claimed that the reason why he wanted to join a jihadist group was the willingness to help people.

Ten investigations linked to Syria or Iraq are currently being examined by the federal prosecutor, on top of more than 30 cases against former jihadists over their membership in a terrorist group,” said a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.

This verdict may thus be the first Syria related crime verdict in Germany but should not be the last.