Al-Assad’s pediatrician.. from Minister Hani Mortada, who is in charge of Sayeda Zeinab Temple affairs

Former minister Hani Murtada died at dawn today, at the age of 83, and it was known that he was going to take over the affairs of the Sayyida Zainab shrine in the capital city of Damascus.

Today, Sunday, December 25, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research mourned the death of former Minister of Higher Education Hani Mortada on its Facebook page.

Who is Hany Mortada?

Hani Mortada was born in Damascus in 1939. He studied at Mohsiniyah Elementary and High School, then joined the Damascus University School of Medicine in 1958, graduating in 1965 with a specialization in pediatrics.

He received the Canadian “Royal Fellowship” certificate, then the American “Board” certificate for septic diseases in children, after which he returned to Damascus in 1978, and worked as the head of the septic diseases department at the Children’s Hospital since its opening.

He was appointed a teacher at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of “Damascus” and assistant professor in 1980, then he was appointed president of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Hospital between 1987 and 1991.

He worked as the president of the “Association of Pediatricians of Syria” between 1989 and 1995, and the dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of “Damascus” from 1991 to 2000, when he became the president of the university until 2003.

He concluded his political career by being appointed Minister of Higher Education from 2003 to 2006, when he began his tenure in the ministry by abolishing the color “khaki” in schools, teaching about “National Socialism”, including military training in universities, and allowing the establishment of private universities.

Responsible for Ms. Zainab’s temple affairs

Hani Mortada, in his autobiography on the website “Maqam of Sayeda Zainab”, in his capacity as a custodian of the shrine, wrote about the extent of his interest in organizing and developing the affairs of the shrine since 1975, despite his scientific and academic preoccupations.

Murtada took over the affairs of the shrine in partnership with Muhammad Reda Murtada, and later Hani Murtada spoke of helping his son Mazen manage the shrine.

In an interview with the Lebanese newspaper “An-Nahar” in 2018, Mortada said that he was taking over the duties of the shrine of Sayyidah Zainab in Syria, explaining that his family had been in charge of it for 750 years and that it came to him by inheritance and not by agreement, denying rumors about his relations with the Iranians and the financing of the Syrian regime.

Mortada added: “It is not allowed to accuse people and spread rumors left and right without censors, because I have nothing to do with the Iranian regime and I have not even visited Iran to be in charge of managing the funding of the Syrian regime,” the newspaper said.

On the other hand, Mortada mentioned in his memoirs dating back to 2018 that he visited Iran as part of an official government delegation led by the then minister of higher education, Saleha Sunqur, and there discussed with Iranian officials the possibility of material and moral support for the ministries of culture. and education to contribute to the completion and completion of the “Sayeda Zainab Complex” project. information and research.”

He also mentioned his “achievement” regarding the “Sayeda Zainab” hotel project for tourism and visiting, increasing the shrine’s share in the project, as he was able to negotiate with unnamed investors to return the hotel under the terms of the shrine’s ownership after forty years of investment without paying any what shrine fees.

During his lifetime, in addition to the honors and awards he received from medical and cultural institutions, he received a special honor from the Iranian government in an official ceremony at the “Al-Assad” library, “in recognition of his scientific and cultural efforts. cooperation between the two countries”, his memoirs state.

What is his relationship with the lion?

Hani Murtada was the first appointed minister and president of the university who was not affiliated with the “Baath” party, under the head of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad, and before him was his father Hafez, according to an interview he published in Al-Hayat newspaper in 2003 .

At the same time, he stated in that interview that the “Baath” party “will remain the ruling party in Syria because it is the only party that has managed to achieve stability over the years.”

He said then that the decisions he made, such as abolishing the color “khaki” in schools, teaching “National Socialism” including military training in universities and allowing private universities to be established, were not in response to “external pressures.”

In August 2020, the organization “With Justice” published a report on the most prominent businessmen used by the Syrian regime to finance and circumvent the sanctions imposed on it, in which the name of Mazen Ibn Hani Murtada is mentioned.

The report also mentions that the former minister is considered a “personal doctor” for the children of the al-Assad family, and because of his closeness to the family, he was lost
Bashar al-Assad entrusted him with the task of managing the shrine of Sayyidah Zainab, south of Damascus.

As for his son Mazen, he has been reported as a founding partner in a number of companies, including “Tartous Paper Industries”, “Syrian Financial Group 24” and “Strata” for contracting and trading.

In addition, the local website “Who They” reported that Mazen is a founding partner in “Azash Construction Group” in Lebanon, with a 99.7% stake, and a founding partner in “United Insurance Company – UIC” in Syria.

According to the report, Mazen has been directly accused of financing several projects in and around the shrine of Sayyida Zainab and its surroundings with Iranian funds, along with his support for militias in the region since 2011, and is considered one of the regime’s economic facades.

Mazen and his brothers were granted Lebanese citizenship in May 2018, along with a group of regime-linked Syrian traders who work for him as commercial fronts abroad, such as Samer al-Fouz, Abdul Qadir Sabra, former director of the Maritime Chamber of Navigation, and Farouk Joud, head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lattakia.

Earlier this year, a report prepared by the “Syrian Program for Legal Development” discussed the use of a system by individuals and companies called “fronts”, acting on behalf of a convicted person in his financial affairs, a behavior that has been observed since the 1970s. last century.

Some “fronts” have been sanctioned, as happened to Khader Ali Taher, who is believed to be a front for Asma al-Assad, and Khaled Kaddour, who is a front for Maher al-Assad, the brother of the head of the regime, while others survivors.

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