A new round of death sentences issued by the criminal court of Damascus against various leaders of extremist groups merely serves as a publicity stunt for the regime, as the sentences have no real meaning, a Syrian lawyer said.
The sentence, handed down in absentia to the Tahrir al-Sham leader and others, is primarily a public relations exercise, staged to show that Syrian state and legal institutions are functioning normally, said Syrian lawyer Bashir al-Bassam.
While these sentences appear to have been issued with the intention to punish extremists, he told Diyaruna, they may serve as a prelude to the issuance of dozens of such sentences against regime opponents.
Syrian state media on Tuesday (December 11th) announced the criminal court in Damascus had sentenced 43 people to death in absentia.
Among them are the leaders of Tahrir al-Sham (Mohammed Hussein al-Shara, also known as Abu Mohammed al-Joulani); Jaish al-Islam (Issam al-Bweidani); and Failaq al-Rahman (Abdul Nasser Shamir).
The sentences themselves are "meaningless", al-Bassam said, "and are merely a charade on the part of the regime, which is trying to portray its state and judicial institutions as fully functional, despite the circumstances in Syria."
Sentences not what they seem
Al-Bassam said he read the text of the sentences closely, and found they contained a provision stating that they were reversible.
"This is unusual for such sentences," he said, "which are usually based on lawsuits filed by multiple people in cases related to murder, weapons possession, intimidating civilians and terrorism."
"This indicates these sentences are intended to leave the door open for the sentenced individuals to negotiate and strike deals similar to the deals struck with other opposition groups," he observed.
Because the sentences were handed down now, though many of the cases were presented to the court as early as 2011, this would appear to be a prelude to the issuance of death sentences to hundreds of opposition figures, he warned.
Many opposition figures remain incarcerated in the Syrian regime’s prisons, he said, and refuse to reconcile with the agencies of the state.
The announcement also could be a ploy to provide cover for the crimes the regime committed against prisoners who were killed in past years, he said.
If this is the case, he explained, the sentence would be issued now and carried out as announced, to give cover for these crimes and evade future accountability.
You're a group of paid terrorists. Death is too little for you.Reply