Branch 251: A Podcast to Read
A Discussion with Fritz Streiff and Salam Kawakibi
June 8, 2023 @ Centre Arabe de Recherches et d'Etudes Politiques de Paris

The MENA Prison Forum, along with UMAM D&R and CAREP Paris, is hosting a discussion about the recently published book of 75 Podcasts Branch 251: A Podcast to Read. The book is comprised of transcripts of the Branch 251 podcast that aimed to bridge the distance between Koblenz, Germany, where the first criminal trial took place against officials of the Syrian regime, and where these crimes were committed, in Syria. The podcast, through its episodes in English and Arabic, sought to explain and render accessible the proceedings developing in a language, location, and legal system far removed from the scenes of the crimes. The podcast and now the book provide insights into the unfoldings, findings, challenges, and dynamics of the trials against Eyad Al-Gharib and Anwar Raslan that lasted from 2020 to 2022.

This event will take the form of a discussion between Salam Kawakibi, Executive Director of CAREP Paris, and Fritz Streiff, producer of the Branch 251 podcast. The discussion will shed light on the systematic torture used by the Syrian regime before and during the Syrian revolution against any who opposed it through the evidence that has now been codified a criminal case under international jurisdiction. 

About the Participants:

Fritz Streiff is a German lawyer specializing in human rights cases and atrocity crimes, and working on justice and accountability cases in Syria. His expertise includes investigations, case-building, and strategic litigation. He studied law in the Netherlands and is currently working with his clients on cases related to crimes committed in Syria, Lebanon, and Ukraine. Streiff is the founder of 75 Podcasts, which was behind the production of two podcast series, Branch 251: Syrian Crimes on Trial, in Arabic and English, as well as The Syria Trials podcast. 

Salam Kawakibi is the Executive Director of the Arab Center for Research and Political Studies in Paris (CAREP Paris) and researcher in political science and international relations. Previously he was the Director of the Institut Français du Proche Orient (IFPO) in Aleppo from 2000 to 2006, and the Deputy Director at the Arab Reform Initiative in Paris between 2006 and 2017. He was also a principal researcher at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Amsterdam between 2009 and 2011.

About the book:

The Branch 251 podcast and the book in both Arabic and English were produced by 75 Podcasts, and realized in collaboration with Förderfonds Demokratie, Medico International, UMAM D&R and its program MENA Prison Forum, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and IFA’s Zivik Funding Programme. The English book was edited and published by UMAM D&R while the Arabic book was edited by Dar Al-Jadeed in 2022.  

About the Podcast:

Branch 251 Podcast was founded by Fritz Streiff and Karam al-Shomali. Pauline Peek quickly joined the project and worked diligently and willingly to turn the nascent idea into a professional program. After a while, Saleem Salameh joined the podcast team in its Arabic version. The program is also grateful to Asser Khatab, Noor Hamadeh, Naya Skaf, and Hannah El-Hitami, who covered the trial’s proceedings from Koblenz.

“75 Podcasts” presents audio stories about the world of human rights and international criminal justice. To date, it has produced two podcast series named “Branch 251: Syrian Crimes on Trial” and “The Syria Trials.”