Friday, December 2, 2022
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Friday, December 2, 2022

Opinion | Assad criminalizing torture is the regime’s most flagrant ‘joke’

Credit: Image used for Saydnaya Executions Report by Amnesty International launched 07 February 2017

The Assad regime has recently introduced laws that “punish” demoralization, torture, and theft. These creations suggest that the talk is about a virtuous, fortified, sedate, rational country overwhelmed with sovereignty, rights, and humanity.

While it attempts to appear noble, one must understand the background and objectives of this sudden awakening of the system of tyranny wherein the Assad regime since its inception has had a set package of penalties for those who make calls aimed at compromising national identity, for those calling for ceding any part of Syrian land, for those who awaken racial or sectarian strife or transmit false news that would spread despair in society or harm the status or prestige of the Syrian state, as well as for those who steal cars and bikes.

The types of torture in Syria that the world does not know about include flogging, physical and psychological torture, in addition moral, social, and economic torment. The demoralization begins with insults and threats to everything and everyone the detainee cares about accompanied by physical torture that seeks as its end his mental and physical destruction. And the thousands of pictures smuggled out of the country by “Caesar” are evidence of that.

the testimonies of those who were subjected to torture in Assad’s detention centers cannot be ignored.

Dr. Yahya Alaridi

The purpose of these laws is not to punish those who practice torture. The matter is clear: The laws and decrees of the “regime” that immunize the perpetrators of torture crimes on its part are still in place. The images of Caesar did not come from the moon; the testimonies of those who were subjected to torture in Assad’s detention centers cannot be ignored. Likewise, the testimonies of foreign detainees who were brought to the prisons of “Assad’s Syria” for the purpose of obtaining information and confessions cannot be overlooked.

Although the penal laws of the recent tyranny system are divorced from reality, they carry a message intended to convince Syrians and the world that it is in the process of rehabilitation. But unfortunately for this tyrannical regime, there are nearly two million documents that have proven the criminality of its system.

The real purpose of the corrupt regime in broadcasting its brazen laws is to silence those inside Syria who might be tempted to file a complaint that he, his relatives, or anyone he knows, has been subjected to torture by the Assad regime. It is also an explicit threat to the shabiha and the security branches whom the regime has protected that any word from them will open their files. It is the most effective tool for getting rid of some of those who carried out torture on their behalf and for holding them responsible for the dirt of what the system as a whole has committed.

The Assad regime is under the illusion that such “laws” will be effective in its efforts to beautify its image through boasting that Syria does not have torture.

Dr. Yahya Alaridi

The Assad regime is under the illusion that such “laws” will be effective in its efforts to beautify its image through boasting that Syria does not have torture, and if it does, it is a crime they are capable of punishing. The most important objective of this nonsense remains to close any opportunity for foreign courts with international jurisdiction that Syrians around the world can resort to in their efforts to seek justice. Their hope is that if the victims of their crimes even think of resorting to those courts, they will be told that torture has become a crime under Syrian law, and they will be referred back to the Syrian system to file their complaints.

But Syrians will not forgive or forget, and war crimes do not fall within the statute of limitations. What the Assad regime has done is state terrorism and it believes that it is keeping itself safe from future prosecution by passing the responsibility to its security authorities for criminal acts that may be disclosed. The new Assad laws are of no value and amount to nothing but meaningless ink on paper.

Yahya Alaridi
Yahya Alaridi
PhD in Media and Linguistics, George Town University, USA; Former Dean of the College of Media, Damascus University; Former Director of Channel Two (broadcasting in English), Syrian TV.

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