Member of the Syrian Opposition Coalition’s (SOC), Ayman al-Asimi, said that the conviction of the criminal Rifaat al-Assad by the French judiciary is a positive step on the path of achieving justice and punishing war criminals and thieves of the Syrian people’s money.
Al-Asimi said that the French court’s verdict has two positive effects on Syria: affirming that what is right will not be subject to the statute of limitations, and providing the Syrian people with the hope of achieving justice and holding accountable all those who have committed crimes against the Syrian people and stole their money over the past decades.
Al-Asimi added that the Syrian people had hoped that other verdicts would be delivered against the criminal Rifaat Al-Assad for the crimes of genocide he committed while he was in power. He said that for justice to be fully served, the money that Rifaat stole must be returned to their rightful owners: the Syrian people who are represented by the SOC as the internationally recognized, legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
France’s highest court on Wednesday sealed a ruling that found Rifaat al-Assad was guilty of acquiring millions of euros’ worth of French property using funds diverted from the Syrian state, laundering the spoils and building a vast property portfolio in France with ill-gotten gains.
The verdict by the Cour de Cassation, which comes at the end of a long process in which al-Assad has raised various appeals, confirmed a four-year prison sentence handed on Rifaat al-Assad.
A Paris court last June found him guilty of organized laundering of funds embezzled from the Syrian public purse between 1996 and 2016. He was also convicted of tax fraud.
“The assets held by Rifaat al-Assad in France seized during the proceedings will be definitively confiscated”, said Sherpa, a France-based group of human rights lawyers whose criminal complaint in 2013 triggered the proceedings.
Rifaat al-Assad returned to Syria last year after losing access to his French wealth, the first time he enters Syria since he left the country in 1984 along with 200 of his henchmen.
(Source: SOC’s media department)