The Damascus crimes bureau arrested a number of girls who claimed to have been kidnapped after it was revealed they fabricated their own kidnappings to extort their parents for money. with the aim of marrying those who went with them or disposing of the amount for personal gain.
An Interior Ministry source said that most cases of kidnapping which have occurred in Damascus’s suburbs were organized by the girls themselves and some young men, explaining that in one of the cases, a girl fled with her boyfriend while another young man placed the ransom call to her father demanding 5 million Syrian pounds ($22,700).
The source told Al-Watan that an investigation revealed that the girl left of her own will to marry the young man whom she fled with. Another case involving a girl who fled with a young man to Barzeh told her father that she had been kidnapped and she was being tortured, in order to obtain a large sum of money. It later became clear after the arrest of the kidnappers and the girl that she had fabricated the incident to obtain money to spend in an illegal and immoral way.
The source said that the fabrication of cases of kidnapping was not just limited to girls, but there were some young men who informed their families that they had been abducted, later to find out that the stories had been fabricated in order to obtain money.
The source said that many of the girls aim to leave Damascus for other provinces or to areas in the countryside for the kidnapping to appear legitimate. He added that there are some girls carrying out immoral acts and for that reason want to obtain money by any means possible, explaining that these incidents are clearly harmful to the community and lead it to live in a state of fear.
The Interior Ministry published on its official website stories fabricated kidnappings, including one of a girl known as “A.R.”, abducted by a group of young men. One of the kidnappers, known as “M.A.,” contacted her parents to negotiate with them, and obtained a sum of 500,000 Syrian pounds.
The ministry said that after the girl was freed and the kidnappers were arrested, it was confirmed that she had fabricated the incident with the aim of extorting her parents in order to marry one of the kidnappers. It was revealed that the girl had been sending messages through the negotiators to her parents claiming she was being tortured and that they should pay the sum as quickly as possible.
The ministry said that most cases of kidnapping that have occurred in the Damascus suburbs are cases in which girls have left their parents’ house with the desire to extort them, or the result of pressure. It added that all who were arrested were prosecuted.
The crime of kidnapping in Syrian law is considered a serious crime for which there are heavy punishments, especially after the issuance of the legislative decree in 2013, which states that kidnapping a girl or woman through violence or deception with the intention of marriage is punishable by three to nine years in jail.
The decree stipulates that kidnapping someone, male or female, through violence or deception, with the intention of committing an indecent act is punishable by nine years of hard labor, adding that if the act is carried out, the punishment is not less than 21 years.
The decree says that the previous punishments are imposed if the act is carried out without deception or violence against a minor under 15 years of age. The criminal benefits from mitigating circumstances if they return the kidnapped person to a safe place within 48 hours.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.