Assad Decision to Release Detainees is Major Deception: Rights Activist

A human rights activist described the Syrian regime's amnesty as a major deception, since it only concerns a small fraction of detainees, according to Zaman al-Wasl.

A Syrian human rights activist described the Syrian regime’s decision to release detainees over the past two days in several regions as a major deception, disproving this decision with numbers and facts.

Lawyer Abdel Nasser Hoshan said in a post on his personal Facebook page that the number of arbitrarily arrested and disappeared, according to the report of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, 130,758 people from March / 2011 until August 2020, including 84,371 forcibly disappeared and  46,387 arbitrary detainees.

Bashar al-Assad has issued several amnesty decrees during the country’s devastating 11-year war, which broke out after the regime cracked down on mostly peaceful protesters.

 But human rights activists said the recent release — following a decree issued on Saturday — is the most comprehensive in relation to terrorism charges.

The new decree calls for “granting a general amnesty for terrorist crimes committed by Syrians” before April 30, 2022, “except for those leading to the death of a person”.

On Tuesday, the justice ministry said that “hundreds of prisoners have been released over the past two days in several regions”.

Hoshan says that since the number of arbitrary detainees is 46,387, 8,027 of them were released, and 10,767 were referred, the number of arbitrary detainees remains at 27,593, meaning those who have not been referred to the judiciary until today. 

Read Also: Great Disappointment: How Families of Detainees Spent the Night Under the Bridge in Damascus

The number of convicts reached 3,064 out of 10,767 detainees, while 7,303 remained under trial.

A member of the Syrian Jurists Authority indicated that the number of death sentences was 36, and those sentenced to prison terms were 3,028, which means that those sentenced to death are excluded from the application of Law 7 because the death sentences stipulated in the Terrorism Law relate to terrorist crimes that led to the death of a person.

The Syrian lawyer indicated that the number of non-Syrian detainees is estimated at 500, with around 350 lawsuit files. These will not be covered by the law.

The lawyer added, “If we take the number of prison sentences and death sentences that have acquired the peremptory degree mentioned above as an approximate criterion in performing a proportional calculation to estimate the number of those who will not be covered by Law 7, the percentage of death sentences is 1.17%, and the percentage of prison sentences is 98.83%.”

He added, “Sentencing 7,217 of those still on trial to prison terms that can be released due to their inclusion in the law brings the total number supposed to be released to 10,448 detainees.”

“If we assume that among the detainees, 500 are non-Syrians who were not covered by the law. The final net number to be released will be 9,745 detainees,” concludes the human rights activist.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that more than 250 detainees have already been freed, with the justice ministry promising more will be released in the coming days.

Half a million people have been detained in regime prisons since the start of the war, with about 100,000 dying either under torture or due to poor detention conditions, according to the Observatory.

Activists also accuse the regime of torturing detainees to death, rape, sexual assaults and extrajudicial executions.

 The Syrian conflict – which led to the loss of at least 500,000 lives and displaced more than 13,2 million people –  began in 2011 after the Assad regime brutally cracked down on peaceful pro-democracy protests.

 

This article was 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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