Europe

Spain court opens 1st European case against Syrian officials

A Spanish National Court judge has ordered an investigation into the alleged role of nine Syrian officials in the disappearance and execution of a man in 2013, in the first criminal case accepted by a European court against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Investigative magistrate Eloy Velasco said Monday the nine could be charged with terrorism and forced disappearance.

The case is built around the 2013 arbitrary detention, disappearance, torture and execution of a truck driver in Damascus. The complaint was filed last month by the driver's sister, a Spanish national.

Velasco is investigating it under Spain's principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows prosecution of crimes outside of the country only if there is a Spanish victim. In Monday's acceptance of the case, Velasco considers the sister as the victim.