Swedish court sentences Syrian rebel to life for war crimes

STOCKHOLM, Feb 16 (Reuters) - A Swedish court on Thursday sentenced a former Syrian opposition fighter who now lives in Sweden to life in prison for war crimes.

The Stockholm District court said 46-year-old Haisam Sakhanh was found guilty of breaching international law in the execution of seven soldiers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in 2012.

Sakhanh, who was arrested in March last year, appears in a video showing the killings, the court said. He had denied committing any crime.

“The Defendant participated in the execution and shot one of the captured soldiers with an assault rifle,” the court said in a statement.

Sakhanh used to live in Italy and applied for asylum in Sweden in 2013, where he has lived since. Under Swedish law, courts can try Swedish citizens and other nationals for crimes committed abroad.

In 2015, another Syrian rebel fighter was sentenced to five years in prison for war crimes by a Swedish court for a “torture-like” assault in Syria that was filmed and posted on social media. (Reporting by Johan Sennero, editing by Larry King)