EU upholds sanctions against Assad’s uncle

2015-01-21 15:51

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Brussels - An EU court on Wednesday upheld sanctions against the uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, dismissing his appeal against the measures.

Mohammad Makhlouf, the brother of al-Assad's mother, had argued that the European Union's decision in 2011 to freeze his assets and prevent him from entering the bloc infringed on his rights.

But the General Court argued that, as the president's uncle, Makhlouf is "connected with the Syrian rulers" and "benefits from the policies followed by the regime".

The EU has imposed sanctions on several of al-Assad's close relatives in an effort to pressure his government to change course.

"Mr Makhlouf is a member of the ruling economic class in Syria and it cannot be denied that he maintains links with the regime and has a decisive influence, as a principal adviser, over all the primary circle of rulers of the Syrian regime," the court wrote.

The Luxembourg-based judges also rejected Makhlouf's argument that freezing his assets infringed on his right to privacy, by preventing him from maintaining his standard of living.

"The right to privacy is not intended to protect the individual against a loss of his purchasing power," the court wrote in a statement.

Makhlouf may appeal the decision before the EU's top court, the European Court of Justice.

In 2013, the General Court also rejected an appeal brought by Makhlouf's son Eyad, whom the EU has described as a "General Intelligence Directorate officer involved in violence against the civilian population”.

Read more on:    eu  |  bashar al-assad  |  syria
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