Lattakia Attorney General to ST: New Kinds of Crime Appeared in Syria during Crisis

The crisis in Syria, caused by terrorist war on the country, has produced big challenges and difficulties which had bad consequences on the local community. Among these challenges have been the different kinds of crimes which increased remarkably in the early years of this crisis.

To shed light on this issue, "Syriatimes" e-newspaper interviewed Attorney-General in Lattakia province, Counselor Labib Alia.

"Crimes committed in Lattakia province aren’t very different from those committed in other Syrian provinces. However, during the current crisis in Syria new kinds of crimes emerged like dealing with and joining terrorist groups which have been killing the Syrians and wreaking havoc all over the country," Lattakia Attorney-General told the Syriatimes, stressing that new laws were issued to combat such crimes.

 He stressed that in this regard, Law No. 19 on countering terrorism was issued in 2/7/2012/. A Damascus-based specialized court and general prosecution were also established to deal with terrorism issues in accordance with Law No. 22 issued in 26/6/20012, Alia said, adding that investigating judges in this court discuss terrorism cases from all the Syrian provinces whether perpetrators are civilians or military personnel.

The terrorists' crimes resulted in a large-scale wave of displacement within Syria, Alia said, clarifying that Lattakia hosted the displaced population from Lattakia countryside as well as from other Syrian provinces where violence, caused by the armed terrorist groups, occurred, he said, noting the security challenges resulted from this process.

Some reports say that the crime of kidnapping, which is a strange phenomenon in the Syrian society and it contradicts the social values of the Syrians, was in its highest rate between 2011, 2013 as terrorist groups were controlling wide areas in the country. But after the Syrian army managed to eliminate terrorists and regain control over most areas and restored security, kidnapping crimes decreased notably.

According to Alia, crimes of killing and kidnapping innocent civilians increased and spread notably in hard to reach and terrorist-held areas. Most kidnapping cases, targeting both civilians and military personnel, were carried out by gangs and armed groups aiming at getting ransom or achieving certain goals that serve the agendas of their operators.

New Laws Issued

To confront this kind of crime and prevent its spread, the legislative authority issued Law No. 21 in 2012 in order to toughen the penalty of kidnapping for ransom, Alia said.

According to the law, kidnappers are sentenced to 10-20 years of hard labor. Law No.20 for 2013 provides for death penalty to kidnappers if kidnapped persons died, raped or dangerously injured under torture.

He went on to say that other kinds of crimes also increased during the crisis, including illegal currency exchange andcurrency transfer crimes, circulating counterfeit money, counterfeiting currency, stealing cars and mobile phones as well as taking drug pills.

Alia pointed out that Law No. 18 was issued in July 2013 to toughen punishment for practicing money exchanging without a license.

He made it clear that crimes of stealing cars and falsifying car and real estate purchase deals have also increased, pointing out that strict measures were adopted  to curb such violations.

Under the informatics revolution, Alia said, Informatics crimes  have also spread.He explained that the informatics and electronic crimes are violations that are committed through using the network to reach the data of some websites or using computers to get personal information and photos for blackmailing or defamation purposes or for insulting the state’s figures and establishments.

"In 8/2/2012, the legislative decree No. 17 was issued to organize communication on the internet and combating the electronic crimes” Alia said.

He pointed out that most recently, Law No. 9 was issued in 25/3/2018/ to set up general prosecution, investigating centers, courts of first instance and courts of appeals in all Syrian provinces to deal with electronic and communication crimes.

When asked about the amnesty decrees, Alia said “the amnesty decrees play positive role in maintaining the society’s safety, security and stability, in establishing peace and in providing an opportunities for misled citizens to return to normal life and be good individuals in society.

Interviewed by Rawaa Ghanam