Free Syrian Army Rebel Jailed in Sweden for War Crimes

Workers repair electrical grids as civilians walk past buildings damaged by what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo's al-Shaar neighborhood February 26, 2015. Hosam Katan/Reuters

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A former Syrian opposition fighter was sentenced to five years in prison for war crimes by a Swedish court on Thursday for a "torture-like" assault in Syria that was filmed and posted on social media.

Mouhannad Droubi, who in 2013 obtained permanent residency in Sweden, was arrested after the video was seen by Swedish police.

The court said Droubi, 28, had been a fighter in the rebel Free Syrian Army at the time of the assault, while his victim had been connected to the Syrian army.

It convicted him of the war crime of attacking an enemy who is 'hors de combat', or effectively defenceless, as well as of particularly grave assault.

War crimes are among the serious offences that Swedish law allows to be prosecuted even if they were committed abroad.

"This is the first time that we have tried a case related to the conflict in Syria as far as I know, and there are very few war crimes sentences," said prosecutor Henrik Soderman.

The Stockholm court said in its verdict that Droubi had taken part in "acts of violence of torture-like character against an unknown person who was tied up and already injured".

Sweden has been debating whether to make it a criminal offence for Swedish residents to take part in armed conflicts abroad.