Law No. 49 dated 7th July 1980
Emergency Law issued through Legislative Decree No. 15
Law related to establishing the State Security Department issued through the Legislative Decree No. (14) dated 15th January 1969
Revolution Protection Law
The Arab Republic of Syria’s Constitution issued on 13th March 1973.
One of the most serious violations of human rights and freedoms is for the State to be transformed from a social organization, primarily intended to allocate all its financial and moral resources for protecting the rights, freedoms and interests of the people of that society and for regulating their affairs into an institution which practices terrorism against the people of that society, commits homicides, deprivation of liberty, confiscation of funds, and repression against opponents objecting its views in implementation of the repressive laws it has enacted.
– How can the State, which has been transformed into a terrorist institution, issue repressive laws through which it practices terrorism against national opposition?
Democratic rule is different from that of the totalitarian single-party rule, in the sense that in a democratic rule the people are the source of authority. It is also the people that lay down the constitution, laws, and regulations by means of their freely and impartially elected representatives. Yet, it is up to the people to set up regulations, choose the governor to rule them and dismiss this governor when they feel he is not acting as they wish, because government is an employment contract between the people and the governor to rule according to the law established by the people.
On the other hand, totalitarian or one-man rule is one which took over power through a military coup, usurped people’s right to self-rule, and regarded people as incapable of ruling themselves, and he is, therefore, their guardian. Then that rule cancelled the nation’s Constitution and set up instead of it another Constitution which suits its purposes, and which is devoid of the people’s sovereignty. The ruler appointed himself a leader for both the state and the society against their will, bestowed on himself the right to set himself as candidate for state presidency, and nobody else has the right to be a candidate for state presidency. But it is the duty of the people to say to whoever the party has nominated as candidate: “Yes”. He set up a council which he called “People’s Council” and made legislation shared between this Council and the President of the Republic. In fact, legislation is limited to the President of the Republic, and all that this Council can do is give unanimous approval for whatever draft laws proposed by the President of the Republic. The Council’s debates pay tribute to the illustrious leader president and express approval for these laws. Thus, it has become easier to issue repressive laws whether in the form of legislative decrees or laws submitted by the President of the Republic to the Council as draft laws. The Council endorsed and passed these laws unanimously no matter what crimes against human rights or the homeland or what decrees were issued by the Council of Ministers in order to implement these laws.
Most Important Repressive Laws In Force in Syria:
Emergency Law issued through Legislative Decree No. (15) dated 22nd Dec. 1962.
Law for Protecting the Revolution issued through Legislative Decree No. (6) dated 17th Jan. 1965.
Law for Establishing the State Security Dept. issued through Legislative Decree No. (14) dated 14th Jan. 1969, and the Internal Organizations Law for the State Security Dept. issued through Legislative Decree No. (549) dated 25th May 1969.
Law for Setting Up Field Martial Courts issued through Legislative Decree No. (109) dated 17th Aug. 1967.
Law for Setting Up a State Security Court issued through Legislative Decree No. (39) dated 28th March. 1968.
Syrian Constitution issued on 13th March 1973.
Low No. (49) dated 7th Aug. 1980.
Law for Practicing the Legal Profession No. (39) dated 15th Aug. 1981, and the subsequent free professions laws such as Physicians’ Law, and Engineers’ Law.
As the notorious Law (49) is the worst example of these repressive laws prohibiting the freedom of expression and conscience, and which was called the “Shame Law”, it will be the first to begin with:
Repressive Laws in Syria (1): Law No. 49 dated 7th July 1980
Text of Law No. (49) passed by the Syrian People’s Council in the Session on 7th July 1980:
Each and everyone belonging to the Moslem Brethren Group (Jama’a) organization is considered a criminal who will receive a death punishment.
a. Each and every member of this Jama’a will be pardoned from the penalty indicated in this law, if he declared withdrawal from the Jama’a in one month from the date this law goes into effect.
b. A declaration of such withdrawal can be made according to a written statement submitted in person to the governor or to the ambassador with regard to those who were outside the country when this law was issued.
Punishments for crimes committed by a Moslem Brethren Jama’a member within the country prior to the implementation of this law, and in two months for such a member outside the country, will be reduced as follows:
a. If the crime committed is punishable by death or lifelong hard labour or detention, the punishment will be hard labour for a maximum of five years.
b. If the crime committed involves other offences, the punishment will be imprisonment for 1-3 years.
Each and every member of this Jama’a, who reports in person in one month from the date this law takes effect if inside the country and in two months if outside the country, will be relieved of criminal offences punishments committed, before this law went into effect, to achieve the objectives of the Moslem Brethren Jama’a organization.
Reduction of and release from punishment provided by this law will not apply to those in detention or undergoing trial.
This law will be published in the official Gazette and will go into effect on the date it is issued.
People’s Council Speaker
Text of deliberations within the People’s Council on Law No. (49): People’s Council – 9th Regular Session: 20th Session held at 6.20 p.m. on Monday 17th Sha’aban 1400(H) corresponding to 30th June 1980.
People’s Council Agenda:
1. Session opening:
On Monday 17th Sah’aban 1400(H) corresponding to 30th June 1980 at 6.20 p.m., the People’s Council met under the chairmanship of Mr. Mahmud Hadid, in the presence of the two General Secretaries: Mr. Sa’id Suleiman, and Tawfiq Al-Naqri, along with the majority of the members.
The meeting was attended by Mr. Walid Hamdan, Deputy Prime Minister for Services Affairs, Mr. Abdul Qadir Qaddurah/ Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, together with Ahmad Iskandar/ Information Minister, General Nasiruddin Nasir/ Interior Minister, Doctor/ Engineer: Ahmad ‘Umar Yusif/ Minister of Electricity, Muhammad Najib Al Sayyid Ahmad/ Minister of Education, Abdul Karim Uday/ Minister of the Republic Presidency Affairs, Dr. As’ad Darqawi/ Minister of Higher Education, Muharram Tayyarah/ Minister of Transport, Dr. Salim Yasin/ Minister of State for Planning Affairs.
Article 1: Each and every member of the Moslem Brethren Jama’a Organization is considered a criminal and will receive a death punishment.
a. Each and every member of this Jama’a will be pardoned from punishment indicated in this law or in any other law if the member declares his withdrawal in one month from the date this law goes into effect.
b. Withdrawal must be declared in line with a written statement submitted to the Governorate Police Department or to the Regional Director or to the Ambassador by those outside the country on the date of issuing this law.
Article 3: Punishment for crimes committed by a Moslem Brethren Jama’a member, before this law went into effect to achieve targets of this Jama’a, will be reduced if he hands himself over in one month from the date this law goes into effect, as follows:
a. If the crime committed is punishable by death or lifelong hard labour or detention, punishment will be hard labour for a maximum of five years.
b. If the offence committed involves other crimes, punishment will be imprisonment for a period of 1-3 years.
Article 4: Each and every Jama’a member would be pardoned from the punishment for criminal offences committed in order to achieve the objectives of the Moslem Brethren Jama’a, before this law came into effect, if that member handed himself over in one month from the date this law came into effect.
Article 5: Those who are under detention or undergoing trial will not benefit from remaining in hiding or from amnesty indicated in this law.
Article 6: This law will be published in the Official Gazette and will be effective on the date it is issued.
People’s Council’s Speaker:
This draft law should be referred to the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee. I have a proposal from Mr. Ghazi Khadhrah saying: “Your immediate consideration of the draft law related to the Moslem Brethren gang is requested. It is time for Mr. Abdallah Musilli to deliver a speech: Mr. Abdallah Musilli:
The demand for an immediate consideration of this draft law is inappropriate for the following reasons:
The Council’s Bylaw indicated that the Executive Authority or any other member may request an immediate consideration of an issue deemed as urgent. Then the issue is referred to the respective committees which have to take a decision to this effect in five days. As you know Mr. Speaker; our present session expires at midnight tonight, i.e. 5½ hours later. So can the Committee afford to wait for five days to discuss this issue. The Constitutional Committee should first look into the constitutional or non-constitutional aspect of this draft law, which is then referred to the Council for discussion. Thus, this draft law will either be constitutionally passed or rejected in light of the comments made by the Committee. The law will then be referred to the respective committees to conduct an objective study of it. As I said earlier, this committee must submit its report in five days.
It has been requested by all world seminars, especially the latest Arab seminar held in Cairo in 1976 in which Syria participated, to cancel the death punishment.
In light of this, and as the Constitution provided for sovereignty of the law, how can we bestow sovereignty on a law passed in five hours? The issue is very serious, and I kindly request brother members to refrain from granting approval for a speedy consideration of the draft law, and to conduct deliberate and accurate discussions in order to identify the social, political, humanitarian, and psychological reasons for endorsing this punishment. In line with the basic principles which I have maintained for twenty years while I have been a member in these legislative councils, I have always sought to safeguard order and Constitution. I will declare before all that I will not attend the meeting of the Constitutional Committee in which I am a member, nor will I discuss this draft law as long as a sooner consideration of this draft law is adopted. Thank you.
Speaker: Is there any comment on a sooner and possible consideration of this draft law? (Silence prevailing). Therefore, those for a sooner consideration of the issue are requested to raise their hands (Hands of the majority are raised), and the Constitutional and Legislative Committee are called to a meeting immediately…. Now I would like to give the floor to Mr. Hisham Al-Salti:
Mr. Hisham Al-Salti:
Please say the number of those members attending the meeting and the number of those who voted for the draft law, as colleague Musilli said, in accordance with the Council’s Bylaw and to identify the majority. Thank you.
Speaker: Again, those voting for a sooner and possible consideration of the issue are requested to raise their hands (Hands raised), and member Mr. Hisham is kindly requested to count the hands with us to see if there is a majority or not.
Mr. Hisham Al-Salti:
Please announce the number of members when the session was opened, and the number required for voting now, and announce the number of voters which will be noted in this Council’s record as a historical reference.
Speaker: The number of attendants is 130 members. The observers are kindly requested to count the voters ‘for’ the proposal to speed up the consideration of the draft law. I also kindly request the brothers to raise their hands for a short period of time because a very high degree of accuracy is needed (Secretary Generals started counting the voters ‘for’ a speedy consideration of the issue).
The required number is “66”, and the number of voters is “68” members. The Constitutional and Legislative Committee is now called to meet immediately provided that we will follow up on our agenda. The floor is given to Mr. Wahid Mustafa to deliver a speech. Mr. Wahid Mustafa:
Before we move to follow-up on our agenda, and after the Council has voted for a sooner consideration of the issue, I would like to ask the following question: Is this law going to solve the problem in our country?
Speaker: You can ask this question when we start debating the draft law. Mr. Hisham Al-Salti will deliver a speech.
Mr. Hisham Al-Salti: I think that the session should be postponed pending the return of the Committee and in order for its members to participate in debating the in-coming reports.
Speaker: Alright, we have a majority. The secretary general will read the first report.
People’s Council – Fifth Emergency Session
Second session held on Sunday afternoon 23rd Sha’aban 1400H corresponding to 6th July 1980, at 6.20 p.m., the People’s Council held a public meeting under the chairmanship of its Speaker Mr. Mahmud Hadid in the presence of the two members and Secretary Generals: Mr. Tawfiq Al-Naqri, and Wafiq Arnus along with the majority of the members.
The session was attended by the following ministers: Mr. Nayif Ta’ani/ Minister of state for People’s Council Affairs, and Engineer: Ra’fat Al-Kurdi/ Minister of Transportation.
Speaker: In view of the presence of the majority of members, I declare the opening of the session. The Secretary General will read the names of both absentees and those on-leave.
Ahmad Dashu, Hassan Jum’a, Rais Farhan Al-Fayyadh, Rashid Isa, Sha’aban Shahin, Dhiya’ Al-Haj Ali, Tarif Kayyali, Abd Al-Aziz Al-Milhim, Ismat Ghubari, Ali Taljini, Faisal Al-Najras, Thabit Al-Mahyni, Muhammad Hamdi Arab, Muhammad Shaikh Ismail, Muhamad Thafir Kheirallah, Muhammad Ali Al-Halabi, Muhammad Al-Imadi, Muhammad Hisham Sifu, Mustafa Al-Ayid.
Members on leave: Abdul Mu’in Al-Fatrawi, Muhammad Mayhub, Nasr Al-Yusif.
Speaker: I have received the report of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee concerning the draft law intended to strengthen punishment for affiliation with the Moslem Brethren Jama’a. Those who agree to include this issue within this session’s agenda are requested to raise their hands, (Hands raised) and the Secretary General is requested to read this report.
People’s Council Speaker:
The Constitutional and Legislative Committee met at 10.00 a.m. on Sunday 6th July 1980 under its Chairman: Dr. Fuad Dib and in the presence of its rapporteur: Mr. Ali Milhim along with the following members: Ismail Al-Yusif, Ismail Abdul Ghani, Albeir Abdallah Al-Musilli, Bughus Sarraj, Jum’a Abdun, Sa’id Suleiman, Dr. Arif Hamdan, Najm Al-Din Al-Salih, Hadi Iqbeiq, Muqatta’ Tweisan, Shafiq Wahdan, and Hamdi Al-Mahmud. The remaining members were absent.
The Committee discussed the draft law aimed at tightening punishment for belonging to the Moslem Brethren Jama’a, and reducing punishment for those who hand themselves over.
After reviewing the draft law, imperative reasons for presenting the law, and the honourable Council’s resolution to speed up possible consideration of the issue and the contents of all its articles, following the ministers’ responses to all inquiries raised by the members, the committee decided through a majority vote to discuss the issue because it does not represent a violation of constitutional rules. However, the minority viewed article “5” of the draft law as violating article “30” of the Constitution stating that laws related to penal issues are not retroactive.
The Committee hereby submits its report to your excellency, and kindly requests to have it discussed by the honourable Council for approval of its viewpoint.
Committee Rapporteur: Ali Milhim
Committee Chairman: Dr. Fuad Dib
Speaker: You have heard the report which is being presented for discussion. (Silence) Those voting ‘for’ the report raise their hands (Hands raised). Majority raised hands, and the report was accepted and is referred to both of Constitutional and Legislative Committee, and National Security Committee. Before concluding this session, I would like to call for a meeting now of both Constitutional and Legislative Committee, and National Security Committee. I also would like to remind brother members of the Committees’ meetings tomorrow Monday according to the schedule declared.
As our agenda has been concluded, the session is adjourned until tomorrow Monday 7th July 1980 at 6.00 p.m. Thank you.
Article 1: Every member of the Moslem Brethren Jama’a organization is considered a criminal and will receive the death punishment.
Speaker: You have already heard this article. Is there any comment? (Silence) Those who agree are required to raise their hands (Hands of the majority raised). Article accepted.
a. Every member of this Jama’a will receive a waiver of punishment indicated in this law or any other law in the event that he declared withdrawal in one month from the date this law came into effect.
b. Withdrawal must be declared according to a written statement submitted in person to the governor or ambassador by those abroad on the date of issuing this law.