Middle East

First civil courts established in Idlib province

A sheikh explains the lack of a religious basis for the court. (Youtube)

BEIRUT: The first purely “civil” courts in rebel-held areas have been established in Idlib province, a pro-opposition TV station said Saturday. An Orient News correspondent visited the town of Bara, which was formerly in the hands of militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and greater Syria (ISIS), who have been chased from the province by fighters from the Syria Rebel Front recently.

The court is one of three in the region under the supervision of the SRF, led by Jamal Maarouf. In other rebel-held areas, Shariah courts have been created.

A court official said “we have a view of Islam and religion that might differ from those of others – in general, the court’s authority is derived from revolutionary groups and from the local [social] environment,” and not religious principles.

A sheikh justifies the lack of a religious basis for the court by arguing that Quran-based punishments are “suspended” during times of civil conflict.

The report interviews an investigator who says “psychological pressure,” but not physical abuse, is used during the interrogation of detainees. The report says the court officials are anxious to establish similar bodies in other rebel-held areas, but are unable to do so because of a lack of financial resources.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 12, 2014, on page 8.




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