Battle for Syria’s Courts (2013): The escalating struggle for control of Syria’s legal system between revolutionaries and Islamists linked to al-Qaeda.

Battle for Syria’s Courts (2013):The escalating struggle for control of Syria’s legal system between revolutionaries and Islamists linked to al-Qaeda.

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The uprising against Syria’s President Bashir Al-Assad sparked a bloody civil war but three years on, the opposition is now at war with itself. There is an escalating struggle between moderates and Islamists linked to al-Qaeda.

The Islamists want Sharia justice and in some parts of Syria they’re getting their way. We travel to Saraqib where foreign Islamists control checkpoints and the courts. They even check meat deliveries to the town to see they’re fit for Muslim consumption. Inside the Sharia court we hear the case of four would-be thieves caught trying to steal a car. They are sentenced to public flogging. But they’re lucky not to receive sentences of amputation or even death. Sharia judge Sheikh Abdullah explains that punishments are reduced during wartime. The Islamists’ Jordanian commander here Abu Qudama says “I thank the West for not intervening in Syria. This has helped to revive religion in the hearts of the people”. But others want the foreigners to leave and a brave few protest against the flogging and the courts. One explains his opposition to the Islamists: “In Islam I see smiles, tolerance, love, good deeds, helping others, justice and everything that’s beautiful. But they see death and blood.”

BBC Arabic – Ref. 6074

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