Written By Luna Watfa
Translated to English by Diane Lockyer
A report is about a friend of the accused Raslan who came to Koblenz Court on 4th November 2021 to talk about the Forty Branch officers and torture in the al-Khatib branch under the auspices of Hafez Makhlouf.
The witness began by saying he was a former colleague of the accused and they had completed a training course together in 1992 at the Police College. Anwar Raslan later moved on to work with State Security Intelligence while the witness worked as a police officer at the Ministry of Interior. They remained in personal contact until 2012 and when they met they did not talk about the nature of their work but rather exchanged services from time to time. He cited a contact he had with the accused in early 2012 after Raslan arrested one of his relatives and asked the accused to help him in that matter which he did and his relative was released following this contact.
A defense witness, “a former police officer who was a friend of Raslan’s” told the judges he did not know much about the security branches because he was with the police and not with the intelligence services.
At the end of November 2012, there was a meeting of about five or six high-ranking intelligence officials at the Ministry of the Interior to address the problems at that time, the witness said. The accused attended this meeting as a representative of the Intelligence services while he attended as a representative of the Ministry of Interior where the two friends met once again.
After the meeting ended, the witness invited the accused to his office to drink coffee together when the latter told him about the pressures being exerted on him, especially by Hafez Makhlouf. The accused mentioned he was suffering psychologically as a result of this pression and wanted to escape. The witness told him he would get him out of Syria within two days and had already arranged the process of his defection when they both agreed on a plan. The process of defection and exit from Syria was arranged although it proved difficult for the accused because he hailed from Homs and was obliged to take the Damascus-Daraa and Sweida road and pay for his ten day journey.
The witness noted that Hafez Makhlouf was head of the al-Khatib Branch 251 implying that the accused was working for him. However, in actual fact at that period, Tawfiq Younis was the head of the al-Khatib branch, not Hafez Makhlouf, who was the head of the Forty department.
Yet, the witness was convinced he was right when he told the court that Makhlouf was the head of the accused and he was the one who was putting pressure on him, and not Tawfiq Younis, and he persisted it by virtue of his work as an officer and his knowledge of the officers’ work, as he said.
Consequently, he proved he didn’t know a great deaal about the security branches as he was with the police and not the Mukhabarat. In addition, the witness did not know the accused had been transferred to State Security Branch 285 in September 2012, which happened two months before he had met him at the meeting previously mentioned as he continued to refer to the accused as working in the Al-Khatib branch.
The witness arrived in Jordan two days after his meeting with the accused and was in communication with him when he was able to escape two weeks later. They met personally in Jordan and talked about the situation in Syria and how to provide the necessary assistance.
The witness admitted the accused defected much later than others who had defected earlier. He also confirmed it had not been easy for Raslan and could have cost a person his life. Besides, the accused had had to wait for the appropriate opportunity to get out with his family.
The witness was asked about his knowledge of the accused’s positions before their meeting at the Ministry of Interior in 2012. He replied that the accused was from Houla, where at least 100 people had been killed and that some of them were from the accused’s family. He knew Anwar as a friend and colleague and evidently knew his moral position and was sure the accused would not agree to such a massacre.
The witness added that during their meeting, the accused had told him he had helped two or three people from the Moadamiya al-Sham area two days earlier getting them out after their arrest and mediating for them with the head of the branch. He considered they had done nothing that deserved their arrest and so they were released.
However, it should be noted that the witness was talking about November 2012, the very moment when the accused himself had said he was frozen in his position and was unable to do anything.