Judiciary Council: We can’t issue verdicts without Jaish al-Islam files

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The Judiciary Council of rebel-controlled East Ghouta held a press conference Sunday during which its head judge lashed out at Jaish al-Islam for failing to hand over files needed to render judgments. “Jaish al-Islam stipulated that we issue all judgments at once, and we requested they stop giving us incomplete casework, so we are asking Jaish al-Islam to finish giving us the files,” said Khalid Tafour, head judge of the East Ghouta Judiciary Council. The press conference came one day after the leak of a video in which a leader from the rebel brigade insinuated that Tafour is procrastinating in delivering judgments. The Judiciary Council is ostensibly independent and responsible for issuing summonses, trying criminals and combating corruption in the rebel-controlled region east of Damascus. Tafour mentioned that one of the most important files he requested were those pertaining to “the case of Jaish al-Umma,” referencing a campaign of arrests waged by Jaish al-Islam against another rebel brigade last year. He also spoke about the abduction of opposition activist Razan Zeitounah, whose whereabouts are still unknown. Zeitounah, her husband and two other activists are believed to be in Jaish al-Islam custody. “The investigations commission for Razan Zeitounah is still ongoing…and some [rebel] brigades are cooperating while others are hampering it.”