A German court sentenced Anwar Raslan, a former Syrian colonel, to life in prison for committing crimes against humanity at a jail near Damascus a decade ago. Thursday’s landmark ruling by the court in Koblenz marks the first step towards justice for countless Syrians who suffered abuse at the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s government during the country’s years-long conflict. Raslan is alleged to have been a high-ranking security service officer under al-Assad as mass anti-government protests against his rule were violently crushed. He sought refuge in Germany after defecting from his post and deserting Syria in 2012.