A Syrian-Romanian serving a prison sentence in Syria may also get jail time in Romania.

Omar Hayssam, a Romanian-Syrian businessman, is escorted by special police forces at the main Bucharest court in 2005. [Reuters]

Omar Hayssam, jailed in Syria for terrorism, could face added time in Romania as a result of an extradition treaty signed earlier this month.

The agreement — signed by Romanian Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu and Syrian top diplomat Walid al-Moalem — was a highlight of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad’s two-day visit to Bucharest. It allows for convicts serving prison terms in one country to be sent to the other in order to serve their sentences there.

The deal comes after years of lobbying by Romania for the return of Hayssam. In 2008, during Basescu’s official visit to Damascus, the issue was raised for the first time during bilateral discussions.

Hayssam was found guilty of masterminding the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq in 2005, and sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison in 2007.

He managed to flee Romania a year before that verdict after a tribunal allowed him to seek alleged medical treatment. Later, he was convicted and imprisoned in Syria on unknown charges.

The case attracted considerable notoriety for exposing apparent flaws in the Romanian judicial system. The prosecutor general and the heads of both domestic and foreign intelligence resigned amid the scandal.

“This treaty denies persons abroad to think they got away from going to prison. In Romania there are Arab communities, so this deal is important for us, too”, the Syrian head of state said in an interview for the Romanian station B1TV.

Still, he played down expectations regarding Hayssam’s extradition.

“He is currently serving a several-year prison term in Syria. He was sentenced two years ago and, after his term ends, we will resume discussions with the Romanian authorities because talks are more complex when it comes to dual-citizenship persons,” Assad said.

Analysts say the deal with the Arab country is not a random one. “The treaty can be translated into a success for Romania, since talks started through insistence from Bucharest with an effort to bring back Hayssam. It also brings a surplus of image for the head of state who undertook a vast part of the negotiations leading up to the deal,” Silviu Sergiu, senior political editor with the daily Evenimentul Zilei, told SETimes.

“It is true for now that Hayssam will remain in a Syrian prison, but what’s important is that a legal framework has been established for his extradition. The reason why Assad played down the treaty and the immediate extradition of Hayssam may be found in his desire not to appear too co-operative before his own citizens,” Sergiu explained.

Read the article on regdaynews.blogspot.com

Romania’s most-wanted closer to extradition

A Syrian-Romanian serving a prison sentence in Syria may also get jail time in Romania.

Omar Hayssam, a Romanian-Syrian businessman, is escorted by special police forces at the main Bucharest court in 2005. [Reuters]

Omar Hayssam, jailed in Syria for terrorism, could face added time in Romania as a result of an extradition treaty signed earlier this month.

The agreement — signed by Romanian Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu and Syrian top diplomat Walid al-Moalem — was a highlight of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad’s two-day visit to Bucharest. It allows for convicts serving prison terms in one country to be sent to the other in order to serve their sentences there.

The deal comes after years of lobbying by Romania for the return of Hayssam. In 2008, during Basescu’s official visit to Damascus, the issue was raised for the first time during bilateral discussions.

Hayssam was found guilty of masterminding the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq in 2005, and sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison in 2007.

He managed to flee Romania a year before that verdict after a tribunal allowed him to seek alleged medical treatment. Later, he was convicted and imprisoned in Syria on unknown charges.

The case attracted considerable notoriety for exposing apparent flaws in the Romanian judicial system. The prosecutor general and the heads of both domestic and foreign intelligence resigned amid the scandal.

“This treaty denies persons abroad to think they got away from going to prison. In Romania there are Arab communities, so this deal is important for us, too”, the Syrian head of state said in an interview for the Romanian station B1TV.

Still, he played down expectations regarding Hayssam’s extradition.

“He is currently serving a several-year prison term in Syria. He was sentenced two years ago and, after his term ends, we will resume discussions with the Romanian authorities because talks are more complex when it comes to dual-citizenship persons,” Assad said.

Analysts say the deal with the Arab country is not a random one. “The treaty can be translated into a success for Romania, since talks started through insistence from Bucharest with an effort to bring back Hayssam. It also brings a surplus of image for the head of state who undertook a vast part of the negotiations leading up to the deal,” Silviu Sergiu, senior political editor with the daily Evenimentul Zilei, told SETimes.

“It is true for now that Hayssam will remain in a Syrian prison, but what’s important is that a legal framework has been established for his extradition. The reason why Assad played down the treaty and the immediate extradition of Hayssam may be found in his desire not to appear too co-operative before his own citizens,” Sergiu explained.

Read the article on regdaynews.blogspot.com

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