Facebook ‘torture’ video leads to Sweden arrest

UPDATED: A 28-year-old Syrian living in Sweden is facing war-crime charges over a vicious assault, after a video of the attack was posted on Facebook. It is the first case of its kind in Sweden.

The suspect is accused of brutally assaulting a representative of the Syrian regime, who was held captive and bound at the time of the attack in the summer of 2012.

”As far as I know this is the first time we have charged someone in Sweden for a crime committed in Syria’s civil war,” prosecutor Hanna Lemoine told news agency TT.

The attack was allegedly carried out by the suspect, then a member of the Free Syrian Army, along with a number of other people.

The identity of the victim is not known.

”The police got access to a film that shows the man participating in the serious assault. He is currently being held in custody and we have pressed charges,” said Lemoine.

She would not say how the police got hold of the film or comment on whether it had circulated on social media. The circumstances surrounding the attack led Swedish prosecutors to classify it as a crime committed as part of an armed conflict.

The suspect was indicted on Monday morning at Södertörn district court on charges of committing a war crime and serious assault.

Prosecutors explained that the man was facing charges in Sweden because he had applied for and received permanent residency in Sweden in September 2013, after the alleged crimes were committed. 

The former Syrian rebel says he was forced to perform the acts.