On Monday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad passed a law on cybercrime, which “tightens penalties for publishing via electronic means, and criminalizes through imprisonment and financial fines anyone who publishes digital content on the internet with the intention of overturning or changing the state’s system of government, or undermining the prestige of the state and the national unity.”
According to lawyer Hassan al-Aswad, the new law is a form of prosecution and has put obstacles in the face of any criticism of the government’s failed policies, as criticism of the government’s recent decisions has escalated.
On the constitutionality of this law, Aswad said, “This law is, from a constitutional point of view, in violation of the Syrian constitution, as it violates the explicit articles of the constitution, which was established by the regime in 2012, and provides for freedom of belief, freedom of expression, and opinion.”
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“These laws are primarily aimed at the popular supporters of the regime.” The regime threatens prolonged arrest and massive fines. “The goal is to silence the people and prevent Syrians from criticizing the actions of the authority, which are illegal and inhumane.”
The Syrian lawyer asserts that the new law also violates international laws, “because it prevents people from expressing their views, contrary to international conventions, the international system, all the international treaties, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
Alan Bakr, chairman of the People’s Assembly’s Media and Communications Committee, said the law criminalizes the publication and the sharing of a post or expressions that affect national unity and incite hatred and discrimination in all areas, including sports. It punishes the owner of the post and anyone who comments on it and circulates it on all social media platforms (Facebook, Telegram, WhatsApp).
He agreed that harming the prestige of the State is an unmeasurable case, but it does not mean protecting a minister or any official.
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.