Moataz Obeid writes in Arabi21 an article in Arabic about a law issued by the head of the Syrian regime Bashar Assad “criminalizing torture in prisons,” after thousands of Syrian citizens were killed under torture in regime prisons, according to human rights networks.
The article quotes Assad news agency SANA as saying that penalties are included in “the text of the law in accordance with the seriousness of the criminal act, amounting to execution if torture results in the death of a human being, or has been assaulted by rape or indecency during torture, while the penalty is life imprisonment if torture occurs on a child, a person with a disability, or results in permanent impairment.”
SANA adds that the law “punishes anyone who has committed, participated in or instigated torture for at least eight years, whether to obtain a confession, for personal, material or political purposes, with the intention of revenge and at least a 10-year imprisonment sentence for anyone who commits torture against an employee for exercising one’s duties.”
Obeid in his article goes on to quote SANA’s statement by saying “the law provides for measures to ensure the right to file complaints or report torture, to protect the complainant, to report crimes under the act, to maintain confidentiality, and to protect witnesses, experts and family members.
Obeid writes that at least “131,469 people remain in detention or enforced disappearance in regime prisons, and the regime has drafted laws allowing security forces to torture people, preventing criminals from being held accountable and giving them full immunity from prosecution of people executing regime orders, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).”
Abdel Ghani notes that the regime had laws that contradict and undermine the “criminalization of torture” law, particularly those relating to the protection of perpetrators and criminals, where security services laws provided for the need to obtain approval from branch chiefs to subject any person to investigation for violations.
“Syrian law provides for the prevention of enforced disappearances, but the regime does not enforce these laws, with at least 86,000 enforced disappearances in regime prisons and detention facilities,” Abdel Ghani tells Arabi21.
“The biggest violator of the Syrian constitution and Syrian laws is the regime itself,” the article quotes Abdel Ghani as saying.
Assad’s announcement of the law drew ridicule from social media users in Syria and beyond, and some questioned whether the law covered the Syrian regime’s notorious security branches.