x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Syrian man cannot be extradited, UAE court rules

The Federal Supreme Court refuses to extradite a Syrian man accused of links to armed riots in the country in 1982, citing fears he would not get a fair trial.

ABU DHABI // A man wanted by the Syrian regime cannot be extradited because the country is unstable and he would not receive a fair trial, the Federal Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

The court noted that Syria had used "unexplained" violence to quell "a public revolution that requests toppling the ruling political party" and the departure of its leading figures. The ruling upheld a verdict by the Federal Appeals Court.

The Syrian authorities accuse the man of using a weapon against security forces, participating in riots in the city of Hama in 1982, and being a member of a banned organisation.

The charges, which he denies, are punishable by death under Syrian law.

The man's identity was not disclosed.

The appeals court ruled on February 27 last year that the man could not be handed over to the Syrian authorities - a decision that was then appealed by the attorney general.

The attorney general argued that the appeal court based its verdict on fears the man would be tortured if he were handed over - but that it "lacked any evidence to prove" that this would happen.

He said that just because a long time had passed since the man's alleged crime, this did not mean the Syrian authorities were not genuine in seeking to bring him to justice. He added that no link between the case and the current unrest in the country had been proven.

But the Federal Supreme Court rejected his arguments, and ruled that the man could not expect a fair trial and could therefore not be extradited.