Mon Jul 2, 2012 4:52PM
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has issued three new "counter-terrorism" laws that consider heavy penalties for those cooperating with terrorist groups fighting against the government. According to the first law, the financing of terrorism, including any action to collect and directly or indirectly provide money, weapons, ammunition, explosives, communication equipment, or intelligence to aid acts of terrorism will be punishable by 15 to 20 years in prison, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported on Monday. The second law provides for jail terms of up to 20 years with hard labor and a fine for any kidnapping for ransom while a third law stipulates that a state employee convicted of "any act of terrorism’’ will be fired. The lowest penalty is five years in prison for terrorist acts that do not result in loss of life or property. If terrorists cause injury or commit murder they could face the death penalty. The full text of the laws will be published in official newspapers and they will enter into force upon publication. Syrian lawmakers have praised the laws, saying they were “needed at this stage.” Syria has been experiencing a deadly unrest since mid-March 2011, which has claimed the lives of many people, including large numbers of security forces. While the West and the Syrian opposition say the government is responsible for the killings, Damascus blames “outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad. HM/SS/AZ
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