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Swiss maintain sanctions against Assad’s sister

By and agencies

A Swiss court has confirmed sanctions against the sister of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which include a freezing of assets and travel ban to Switzerland. A total of 177 top Syrian officials are currently subject to similar Swiss sanctions.

Since May 18, 2011 the alpine nation has imposed various financial and economic sanctions and travel bans against the Syrian regime including the president and other key personalities. In April 2012 it extended measures against Assad’s wife Asma and mother Anisa, his sister Bushra and sister-in-law Manal – wife of younger brother Maher who heads the Republican Guard.

These were contested by Assad’s sister, who in September 2012 left the Syrian capital Damas for Dubai together with her five children. Her husband Assef Chawkat, had been killed several weeks before in a bomb attack.

In a decision officially published on Thursday, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court  - which hears appeals against decisions of federal authorities - rejected the argument that Assad’s sister no longer had any personal ties to the regime. She has the possibility of appealing to the Swiss Federal Court. 

As of June 23, 2014 a total of 177 people and 54 entities and firms are subject to Swiss sanctions intended to add pressure to the Syrian regime. The Swiss sanctions are in line with those imposed by the European Union.

At least 170,000 people have died in Syria's civil war, which is now in its fourth year. The United Nations has said that about 10.8 million people in Syria need help, of which 4.7 million are in hard-to-reach areas.  Around 3 million Syrian refugees have also fled to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, with smaller numbers in Iraq and Egypt.

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