Assad regime criminalises torture, Syrian activists call new law a 'black comedy'
The law announced in a tweet posted by the Syrian Presidency on Wednesday has been deemed a "black comedy" and "hypocrisy" due to the regime's widespread use of torture and extrajudicial killings to suppress dissent.
Thousands of detainees - mostly protesters or suspected government critics - are believed to have been tortured to death by regime intelligence services over the past 11-years.
The Assad regime has also used chemical weapons and barrel bombs against its own civilians, but this did not stop it from issuing the decree which has been widely rejected by Assad opponents and human rights groups.
"Penalties will be graded according to the seriousness of the crime," the Presidency tweeted.
It said the death penalty will be issued to those who torture another to death despite rights groups having mountains of evidence of the regime's widespread use of this method, including via defected prison photographer Caesar.
The Syrian government issues a decree banning torture just in time for April’s fools. https://t.co/5xzdew4qqe— Samy Akil | سامي عقيل (@Sakil963) March 30, 2022
According to the law, death penalties will also be given to those who commit rape - a crime committed by regime intelligence officers, troops, and militia fighters by rights groups and local media outlets.
The law also states individuals who torture a child or a disabled person will be issued with life imprisonment - also considered "laughable" by many, as Syrian regime forces and Iranian militia killed at least 22,941 children from March 2011 to March 2022, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
مش هنخلص من الكوميديا السودا اللي عايشها العالم دي بقى https://t.co/5lik5Y41Tc— Manamanamnah (@Menozzza) March 30, 2022
The regime began its brutal crackdown on Syria's civilian population when protesters called for reforms, democracy, and freedom in 2011.
Since the conflict began, over 500,000 lives have been lost - mostly at the hands of the regime and its ally Russia - and at least six million Syrian civilians have been internally displaced, largely as a result of heavy shelling and bombardment.