DAMASCUS - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sacked 81 judges and increased wages for the profession as part of a reform programme for the legal system, an official daily reported Wednesday.
Ath-Thawra said the president ordered a 25-percent increase in the wages of judges and improved tax and insurance conditions for the profession, but it did not name those faced with dismissal nor give a reason.
The measures - announced after a cabinet meeting on Monday chaired by Assad to discuss reforms of the judiciary - are aimed at improving the standard of living of judges and speeding up legal reforms, the paper said.
France last year granted aid to Syria to reform its judiciary, which has been criticised for being undermined by corruption.
But human rights activist and lawyer Anwar Bunni, in a statement, criticised the latest moves as "a violation of the constitution ... which underlines the independence of the judiciary with the president as its guarantor ...
"The struggle against corruption passes through a reactivation of institutions and applying the principle of the sovereignty of the law," the activist said.