President Bashar al-Assad issued Law No. 20 to “regulate the criminal legal rules for cybercrime that were included in Legislative Decree No. 17 of 2012,” the Syrian official news agency SANA reported.
The new law increases the penalty of these “crimes” up to 15 years in prison and SYP 25 million, which is equal to 250 times the average monthly salary of the Syrians who have jobs.
Human rights defenders criticized the new law, rejecting it as another burden on the Syrian population.
“It is the last nail that the regime is nailing in the coffin of freedom,” the head of Truth for Justice, a Syrian rights group has said.
He told The Observer that the Assad regime “is closing the only window left to the Syrians to breathe.”
Article 16 of the law stipulates that anyone who designs or promotes malicious software for criminal purposes shall be punished by imprisonment from one to three years and a fine of three million to five million Syrian pounds.
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The same article stipulated that whoever uses malicious software with the intent of harming information technology, information systems, network or personal account shall be punished with a prison sentence of five to seven years and a fine of six million to ten million Syrian pounds. The penalty shall be intensified to ten years in prison and a fine of twenty million to twenty-five million Syrian pounds if the malware was used against a public entity, a bank, or a joint or private financial institution.
Article 29 stipulates that whoever establishes or manages a website or web page or publishes digital content on the internet with the intention of causing devaluation or destabilization or undermining of confidence in the national currency or their exchange rates specified in the official bulletins shall be punished with imprisonment from four to fifteen years and a fine of five million to ten million Syrian pounds.
Article 28 stipulates that a penalty of imprisonment from three to five years and a fine of five million to ten million pounds shall be imposed on anyone who, by means of information technology, publishes false information on the internet that undermines the prestige of the state or prejudices national unity.
Article 27 included that a penalty of temporary detention from seven to fifteen years and a fine of ten million to fifteen million Syrian pounds shall be imposed on anyone who establishes or manages a website or web page or publishes digital content on the internet with the intention of provoking acts aimed at or calls for changing the constitution by illegal means.