A Syrian man has asked the Russian authorities to investigate the torture and decapitation of his brother. In 2017, the mercenaries of the Russian Wagner Group responsible for this would have recorded their crimes themselves on video.
Several videos show how a deserter from the Syrian army is beaten with a hammer, decapitated with a knife and cut off his hands with a shovel. Then the body is poured with gasoline and set on fire. The executioners speak unmistakably Russian.
The man‘s brother is assisted by French, Syrian and Russian human rights organisations in his course to the ‘Research Committee‘ – a kind of Public Prosecutor’s Office. Russian journalists investigating the footage of the crimes came up with the names of some involved in 2019. Certainly one of them would be part of the Wagner Group, a private army of several thousand strong active in Ukraine, Central African Republic and therefore Syria.
In addition to the official military support given by Russian President Vladimir Putin to his ally Bashar al-Assad since 2015, the mercenaries of the infamous Wagner Group have made their hands dirty during the Syrian Civil War. The financier of this private army is reportedly Yevgeny Prigozhin, who as a caterer of state banquets is also called ‘Putin‘s cook’. The famous army of Internet trolls would also be led by Prigozhin.
The lawyer of the next of kin states that “the Russian state is responsible for investigating crimes committed by Russian citizens abroad”. It would be the first time that survivors of a murdered Syrian have tried to bring Russian suspects to justice. But due to the links between the Kremlin and the Wagner Group, it is unlikely that this will lead to justice.