France decided to strip Rifaat al-Assad of the Legion of Honor four years after it stripped Bashar al-Assad of the same award.
The Legion of Honor is the highest civil and military award in France and is usually granted to prominent figures. The decision was made for various reasons, including ill-gotten gains and the commission of violations against civilians by Rifaat al-Assad.
The move came a week after the highest court in France confirmed a ruling that Rifaat Al-Assad was guilty of acquiring millions of euros worth of French property using funds diverted from the Syrian state, money laundering, embezzlement of Syrian public funds, and severe tax evasion.
In October 2021, anti-corruption NGO Sherpa called on French President Emmanuel Macron to strip Assad of the honor after he left to Syria in order to avoid imprisonment.
France had previously withdrawn the same award from Bashar al-Assad who was granted the award in 2001. The move came after France participated alongside the United States and Britain in a military strike on Syria on April 14, 2018 with the aim of punishing the Assad regime for its chemical attack on the town of Douma near Damascus.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) welcomed the French court’s verdict as it stressed the need for further steps in order to return the stolen money to its rightful owner, namely the Syrian people who have been robbed through the decades-long Assad family’s rule.
(Source: SOC’s media department)