A Syrian government newspaper has attacked one of the candidates for the presidency in the upcomign election, claiming he is involved in a scam to rip off university students.
Pro-government Tishreen newspaper said that "H. N", the Dean of Marketing and Management Studies Centre at the European University in Damascus has imposed unacceptable fees on students for a certificate that has never been provided. The newspaper referred to the candidate by his initials only and without mentioning his full name. It is understood however, that the person referred to is Hassan Nouri.
Tishreen said that the dean has imposed an additional 275 Euros in administrative fees to send theses to Switzerland without bothering to send them himself.
Nouri has nominated himself for presidency in what many Syrians see as a "fake election" that will restore President Bashar Assad to the seat of power for another seven years, according to the vision of the Syrian opposition.
The newspaper quotes one of the students saying that months passed "and we did not get the certificates."
"Then [H. N] promised us to get them at the beginning of the year; the argument was that there were problems with the university. We did not know what exactly were these problems and we did not know what was going on behind the scenes, until we began to communicate with the Dean of the University in Switzerland, Luke Rayne," the student source said.
"After several calls, he told us that the Dean owes the university 29,000 Euros and he does not cooperate with them and therefore there are no certificates for us."
"Actually, the university in Switzerland had officially cut its relationship with our dean in early 2011 and he knows that. Even his partner (G.Q.), who is the link between him and the university, is aware of what is going on."
The newspaper added that H. N collected the amount from 55 students, then simply asked them to move to the University of Lazarski and start studying all over again. n this case, they would pay new fees and perhaps they would have to travel to Warsaw to explain their new thesis.
He did not tell the new students that he had cut his relationship with the university when he still receives more students.
Other students claim Nouri changed the headquarters of the European University and opened an office in Qatar after he found an alternative name there, also hiring people to sign up and take over the responsibilities.
Over the course of eighteen months, the students did not try to resort to the judiciary, hoping he wouls respond to their requests. However in their last contact, they claim he told the students to go to the judiciary, and that he would recommend a lawyer of they needed.
"You would benefit from anything. If you want to graduate, pay the university," he reportedly told them, despite previuosly telling them they had paid the extra fees to have him send their theses.
If the required amount is currently 4 million Syrian Pounds, each student will pay 65,000 SP (530 Euros).
Meanwhile, Louay Hussein, one of the internal opposition leaders, described the election as "invalid and false."
Hussein called on the regime to stop the pursuit and arrest of Syrians on the basis of their opinions "as long as the opinion does not call for killing people, dividing the nation, or weakening its will. Through the freedom of opinion, we can create people, without it, the most violent control," he said.