11 episodes

Branch 251 takes you to the heart of the world’s first criminal trial dealing with atrocity crimes committed by Syrian officials.

Prosecutors in the German city of Koblenz accuse two alleged henchmen of the Syrian government of crimes against humanity committed at ‘Branch 251’ detention center near Damascus.

Branch 251 gives you a weekly update on the trial. With portraits of the main protagonists. Commentary, analysis, and testimony from the courtroom. Especially from victims and their families looking for justice. But will a German court in a city few people have heard of be able to deliver due process? Or are there too many obstacles looming on the horizon?

Branch 251 is listener supported. You can support us by subscribing, spreading the word and by going to our website (branch-251.captivate.fm) and clicking the 'Support This Podcast' button.

Follow us on Twitter and @KaramShoumali and @Fritz_Streiff.

Logo design by laurenshebly.nl -- Photo by James Lawler Duggan/AFP/Getty Images.

Branch 251 Fritz Streiff and Karam Shoumali

    • News Commentary
    • 5.0, 4 Ratings

Branch 251 takes you to the heart of the world’s first criminal trial dealing with atrocity crimes committed by Syrian officials.

Prosecutors in the German city of Koblenz accuse two alleged henchmen of the Syrian government of crimes against humanity committed at ‘Branch 251’ detention center near Damascus.

Branch 251 gives you a weekly update on the trial. With portraits of the main protagonists. Commentary, analysis, and testimony from the courtroom. Especially from victims and their families looking for justice. But will a German court in a city few people have heard of be able to deliver due process? Or are there too many obstacles looming on the horizon?

Branch 251 is listener supported. You can support us by subscribing, spreading the word and by going to our website (branch-251.captivate.fm) and clicking the 'Support This Podcast' button.

Follow us on Twitter and @KaramShoumali and @Fritz_Streiff.

Logo design by laurenshebly.nl -- Photo by James Lawler Duggan/AFP/Getty Images.

    Syria Fatigue?

    Syria Fatigue?

    After almost 10 (!) years of war, devastation, crimes and gruesome images from Syria, are we still reading? Watching? Listening? Really? We tried to find answers to this complex question. And bring you a court report straight from Koblenz.

    • 31 min
    After Torture

    After Torture

    In this episode, Fritz and Karam speak to two international mental health experts. They comment on the accounts of survivors we interviewed in the previous episode. And we ask them how exposure to war and torture affects survivors' lives, and what their needs are after torture to lead a healthy life.

    • 29 min
    "He Called Me Ammo"

    "He Called Me Ammo"

    In this episode, Fritz and Karam speak to two survivors of Branch 251. They share with us the painful details of their detention, imprisonment, and how this impacts their lives now.
    Follow us on Twitter and @KaramShoumali and @Fritz_Streiff.

    • 32 min
    Syrian Witnesses Speak

    Syrian Witnesses Speak

    Last week in court was special: Syrian survivors spoke as witnesses for the first time. One of them, Feras Fayyad tells us about his experience testifying in court and opening up about being sexually violated at Branch 251. We talk to two experts who tell us more about sexual violence in international cases and how the Syrian regime has used it as a weapon of war against its own people. Also on the episode: Anwar al Bunni's moment in court that he has been waiting for for so long. He testified as an expert witness and had a lot to say to the judges.

    • 28 min
    Abu Ayoub

    Abu Ayoub

    Eyad A. is the second defendant in the trial. The smaller fish. The less interesting accused. Or is he? Karam and Fritz go on a journey to find answers to this question.

    We talked to friends, family, a colleague of his from Branch 251, and a court reporter to find out more. And we discovered some pretty interesting insights and contradictions in the various versions of events.

    When did Eyad A. really join Branch 251? Did he fight with the rebels before he left Syria? Is justice going after the wrong guy? And how does he come across in the courtroom now that he is facing charges of crimes against humanity?

    • 30 min
    Colonel, Defector, Defendant

    Colonel, Defector, Defendant

    In this week’s episode, Fritz and Karam speak to Der Spiegel’s Christoph Reuter about Anwar R. Christoph Reuter interviewed him in 2013 over two days and tells us "how he ticks".

    And in court this week, Eyad A.’s police statement from August 2018 was admitted as evidence while his lawyers tried to dismiss it as inadmissible. Why? Tune in and find out.

    Subscribe to keep every episode coming to you automatically every week. If you would like to support the podcast, go to our website and click 'Support This Podcast'.

    You can follow us on Twitter @Fritz_Streiff and @KaramShoumali.

    • 27 min

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