Syria, after 37 years Bashar Assad allows his uncle Rifaat, the butcher of Hama, to return home

from Marta Serafini

President Hafez’s brother was in exile in France, where he is accused of embezzlement and tax fraud and risks the appropriation of assets for 90 million euros

The butcher from Hama returns home. Syrian President Bashar al Assad allowed to his uncle Rifaat, who was in danger of being arrested in France, to return home after 37 years of exile.

The news was released two days ago by the pro-government newspaper al Watan, which recalled how last year a court in Paris sentenced Rifaat Assad to four years in prison on charges of embezzlement of public funds in Syria, laundering and building a large real estate portfolio in France with illicit gains.

Rifaat, 84, left Syria in 1984 while he was vice president after an attempted coup against his brother Hafez, then president. Rifaat the one who dragged thousands of opponents into the Tadmur prison in Palmyra, the same one where thirty years later his nephew Bashar had the opponents locked up. The February 2, 1982 the population of Hama, overwhelmingly Sunni, rises up. In four days about 300 Baathists and the soldiers of a unit of paratroopers sent by the army are killed. The Syrian armed forces, organized and led by Rifaat, reply with a harsh siege and the merciless bombardment of Hama, which lasted 27 days, during which they burned earth on a third of the city. at this point and certainly not with an understatement, Rifaat gets the nickname of Hama butcher. Hafez’s younger brother doesn’t want to sit in the back doing the older’s dirty work. And so two years later he decides to attempt the coup and plans a coup against the major weakened by a heart attack. The younger lion tries to tear the older one to pieces. But he can’t do it. He will go into exile in France, taking 300 million dollars with him.

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Now Bashar Assad has forgiven his uncle, allowing him to return to Syria to avoid his prison in France, according to the Syrian newspaper. In fact, given his age, he would hardly have entered prison. THEMeanwhile, the other process for the confiscation of his assets in France, which amounts to about 90 million euros, is continuing. Syrian sources told the DPA that Rifaat is expected to reside in his hometown of al-Qardah, in the coastal province of Latakia.

October 10, 2021 (change October 10, 2021 | 10:56 am)

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