Cyprus revokes citizenship of Assad’s cousin

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ government spokesman says Cypriot citizenship that was granted to the Syrian president’s cousin two years ago has been revoked.

Spokesman Christos Stylianides said Saturday that the decision follows the conclusion of a lengthy probe that ruled revoking Rami Makhlouf’s citizenship was justified.

Makhlouf is on the European Union’s list of Syrians facing sanctions for involvement in the violent repression of Syrian citizens or financially supporting the Syrian regime.

The EU froze the assets of and imposed a visa ban on Syrian President Bashar Assad and other members of his regime in May, 2011 because of his crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Makhlouf controls the mobile phone network and other lucrative enterprises in Syria and has been the focus of much protester anger in the country.

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