EU upholds sanctions against Assad's older sister
Former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad (seated R), his wife Aniseh (seated L), sons Maher (standing, L-R), Bashar, Bassel, Majd and daughter Bushra (standing, L-R) pose for a undated family portrait. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)
EU sanctions against the eldest sister of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were upheld by a European court on Wednesday, with officials saying her strong family ties made her inclusion on the sanctions list legitimate.
Bushra al-Assad, who is the widow of Syria’s former deputy defence chief Assef Shawkat, previously took umbrage with her inclusion in the EU sanctions list, claiming she was a mere “housewife” with no role in the Syrian regime, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.
Despite these arguments, the European Tribunal – which is second only to the European Court of Justice – ruled that as Assad’s sister, Bushra was inexorably linked to the regime "particularly given the existence of a tradition of family management of power" in Syria, according to AFP.
Assad’s sister was initially included on a list of people on the receiving end of EU sanctions against Syria, which involved the freezing of assets and a travel ban in all EU member states.
"If the restrictive measures applied only to leaders of the Syrian regime, the objectives pursued by the (European) Council could be defeated, because the officers concerned could easily use their relatives to bypass the sanctions," the court said, AFP reported.
Due to her British citizenship, Assad’s wife Asma cannot be included in the overall ban, according to AFP.
The eldest Assad child, Bushra is the only daughter in Syria’s ruling clan. Her husband was killed in 2012 in a bomb attack on Damascus.