Yassin Al Haj Saleh
It was clear that Sheikh Nawaf Ragheb Al Basheer was released, after two months of arrest, only after he was forced to appear on Syrian state television and say what the regime wanted to hear. It is also clear that the regime is not keen on hiding this fact. What they hoped for is not to convince Syrians about the contents of the Sheikh’s talk about the regime and the president, but rather to humiliate the Sheikh as a well known opposition figure.
Previously, the regime followed the same approach with Sheikh Ahmad Sayasenah, the Imam of al-Omari mosque, who is well respected in his hometown of Dar’aa. The aim was also to disgrace the man as a symbol and distort Syrians’ perception of him. The regime has no intention to prove that it is a just and dignified regime. The aim is to humiliate its citizens who oppose the regime and strip them of all dignity.