By World Israel News Staff
The London police special unit dealing with war crimes has opened an investigation into the actions of Asma al-Assad, the British citizen who is the wife of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Sky News reported Sunday.
Asma al-Assad is accused by a London-based human rights legal group of supporting and encouraging terrorism, and the authorities in Britain could seek her extradition from Syria if she is charged.
The allegations were given to police by the Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, a new international group of human rights lawyers that specializes in transnational litigation enforcing international human rights law.
The group accuses al-Assad of being one of several “influential actors” who encouraged and incited acts of terrorism and international crimes during the Syrian civil war, which over the past decade has led to an estimated 400,000 deaths and turned 6.5 million Syrians into refugees in the quest by her husband to hold on to power.
Other estimates have put the death toll at over 700,000 with $530 billion in losses.
“This is an important step in holding senior political officials accountable for their acts and ensuring that a state, through an independent and impartial legal process, takes responsibility for the acts of its own nationals,” the group told Sky News.
“As [she] is a British national, it is important that she faces prosecution, if the evidence supports the allegation, and not merely stripped of her citizenship. This is an important process and it is only right that justice is served before an English court.”
The group said stripping al-Assad, who was born in London in 1975 to Syrian parents, of her British citizenship “will not serve the interests of the hundreds of thousands of civilian victims to the 10-year conflict.”
Police confirmed that they had received a referral on the issue in July of 2020 and the complaint is “in the process of being assessed by officers from the War Crimes Unit.”
In December, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Syria, as well as on the wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The U.S. State Department also sanctioned her for spearheading “efforts on behalf of the regime to consolidate economic and political power, including by using her so-called charities and civil society organizations.”