Beirut: Syrian President Bashar Assad has allowed his exiled uncle to return home to avoid a four-year prison sentence in France. Assad’s uncle Rifat Assad had been living in France for the past 30 years. The pro-government newspaper ‘Al Watan’ gave information about President Assad’s decision late on Friday night. According to the newspaper, Rifat Assad, 83, was sentenced last year for building a real estate empire in France from the Syrian treasury. It is being told that Rifat has returned to Syria.
‘France did not immediately comment on the matter’
The paper said that Rifat did not appear in court during the hearing of the case due to ill health and that his lawyer had appealed against the decision. France did not immediately comment on the matter. According to the newspaper, Rifat Assad died in 1984 after a failed attempt to overthrow his brother and late President Hafez Assad. Syria had fled. Rifat Assad served as the Vice President of Syria and the top commander of the Syrian army.
‘President Bashar Assad has pardoned his uncle’
The newspaper reported that the President Bashar Assad has forgiven his uncle. However, no other information has been given other than this. He is also known by the nickname ‘The Butcher of Hama’ for his alleged human rights violations during the suppression of an insurgency in Syria’s Hama province in 1982. However, Rifat denied his role in the Hama massacre.