Kuwait arrests EU blacklisted pro-Assad Syrian businessman Mazen al-Tarazi

Kuwait arrests EU blacklisted pro-Assad Syrian businessman Mazen al-Tarazi
Syrian businessman who is blacklisted by the EU Mazen al-Tarazi for his ties with Bashar al-Assad has been arrested in Kuwait.
2 min read
19 March, 2019
Bashar al-Assad is responsible for crimes against humanity in Syria [Getty]

A prominent Syrian businessman with close ties to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has been arrested in Kuwait, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Mazen al-Tarazi was arrested late Monday at his offices, his lawyer Bader al-Yacoub has said.

He said that he did not yet know the reasons behind his client's arrest.  

Local authorities did not immediately release the charges against Tarazi.

But Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas, citing unnamed informed sources, reported that the businessman is accused of money laundering and printing texts without authorisation.

A longtime resident of Kuwait -- which has the most press freedoms in the conservative Gulf -- Tarazi owns a publishing and advertising firm in partnership with a high-profile local businessman, Ahmad al-Jarallah.

Jarallah confirmed that police had raided his offices on Monday night and arrested Tarazi's secretary and two al-Hadaf magazine employees.

Tarazi is on an EU blacklist of Syrian nationals who have been banned from entry to European states and whose assets have been frozen over their role in the Syria war.

The Syrian war began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

At least tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.