Rifaat al-Assad, Butcher of Hama, sentenced to four years imprisonment in France

Jun 17, 2020

French judges have sentenced Bashar al-Assad’s uncle, Rifaat al-Assad, the ‘Butcher of Hama’, to four years in prison after convicting him of money laundering and misappropriating Syrian public funds to build up a €90m property empire in France.
The court also ordered the confiscation of Rifaat al-Assad’s assets in France as well as property worth €29m in London.

Assad, 82, a former military commander, was tried in December but was not present in court because of health reasons, his lawyers said. He denied the charges.

Assad was nicknamed the Butcher of Hama for commanding troops on behalf of his older brother and Bashar’s father Hafez, the then president of Syria, to murderously crush an uprising in the city in central Syria in which his forces killed between 20,000 and 50,000 Syrian civilians in 1982.

He fled Syria in 1984 after organising a failed coup against Hafez, who ruled from 1971 until his death in 2000.

Rifaat al-Assad had been under investigation in France since 2014.