Intelligence Services Fabricate Charges, Extort Syrians

Many returning Syrian refugees face fabricated charges and extortion when they arrive home, writes Sowt Al-Asima.

From time to time, and over the past few years, news of the return of some Syrians living abroad — whether they migrated after the outbreak of the Syrian revolution or others who have been exiled more than 10 years — has been spreading.

Many of those returning to the country are being subjected to extortion by the regime’s Intelligence Services, forcing them to pay royalties to the security branches, sometimes by fabricating criminal charges and charges related to the terrorism court. Charges include financing terrorism and incitement.

Abou Iyad, who hails from the town of Ein Tarma in eastern Ghouta, returned to his hometown after spending 12 years in exile in both Libya and Algeria.

He told Sowt Al-Asima that he was arrested by Criminal Security agents while visiting a civil registry office to obtain official identification documents.

He added that the arrest came on the charge of dealing narcotic substances, according to a report recently received by the Criminal Security branch, indicating that he was transferred to the branch building in the Bab Musalla area in Damascus.

Iyad confirmed that he paid 4,000 dollars to a security officer in exchange for his release, pointing out that the branch did not start an investigation into the matter. Iyad never appeared before the court.

The Sowt Al-Asima team documented the arrest of 453 people in 2020, including 15 women, 56 children, and two people with special needs, on charges related to security and criminal issues as well as communicating with opposition parties, and other charges related to terrorism.

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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