Zaman al-Wasl’s war crimes investigation team was contacted by witnesses who relayed information and testimonies against Hatem Abdel Aziz Badawi, a former informant and contractor for the regime’s security branches. Badawi obtained a family reunion visa in 2018 where he joined his wife.
A witness, who stated his willingness to testify before German courts, said that he used to live in the same neighborhood as Badawi, in Zahira, Damascus. “Before the revolution, he owned a real estate office and worked in construction and furnishing. I will testify on the events that took place between 2011 and 2012, before I left the country.”
Before the revolution, Badawi worked as an informant for a number of security branches, including the Internal, Al Khatib and the Patrol Branch. He then started working with Branch 235, known as Palestine Branch.
“During the demonstrations in Al-Maidan district in Damascus, I saw him with Shabiha (pro-Assad thugs), waiting for the demonstration to start to arrest the protestors. After he was exposed, he somehow convinced people that he assisted the demonstrators and persuaded Maidan coordinators to trust him. However, most of them were later arrested, after which he disappeared for a while only to reappear again with the emergence of popular committees.
He was seen by several people leaving the ‘Palestine’ military security Branch in Damascus.
The source said that the pictures previously published by Zaman al-Wasl were from the period he worked in the committees, with their meetings taking place next to a flower shop, Marina. His role later evolved, with the people of the area becoming desperate to know the fate of their sons who have been detained by the regime. He claimed he knew where they were being held and promised their release in exchange for large sums of money, which contributed to his growing fortune that led to him buying dozens of buildings and real estate.
“His acts of terror continued to expand to the point that he blew up a building as revenge, arresting the owner so that he could take over it. He also played a big role in the arrest and murder of his own work partner, Ibrahim Salloum, who died under torture.”
Badawi’s close relationship with Major General Jumaa Mohamed al-Jassim, a known war criminal, as well as his sons, boosted his growing influence. The information that he provided them contributed to the arrest of dozens of young men in Zahira.”
The witness also confirmed Hatem’s direct participation in the arrest and torture of activists. “During al-Maidan demonstrations, my friend saw Hatem who recognized him. That same night, my friend was arrested, and disappeared for years, until three months ago when his family were informed of his death in prison due to an asthma attack. They received his personal papers from the military security branch.
“Another friend has also told me that Hatem was present and has participated in the torture and killing of detainees held in Shabiha headquarters.
“Hatem was in direct contact with an assistant in the patrol branch called Kinan, who in turn was responsible for the arrest of around 600 young men. In one of the photos that you published, I recognized one of Hatem’s friends, Abu Tariq “al-Hasan”, who gave free rein for Shabiha members to beat and arrest the protestors in the neighborhood. Al-Hasan, who is from the Daraa, always wore a military uniform and carried a wireless radio, with a gun on his waist.”
On the condition that he is granted safety and confidentiality, the witness expressed his willingness to testify against Badawi in German courts so he would be held accountable for the crimes he committed.
Zaman Al Wasl