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Working Title of PhD: The criminalisation of refugees: Syrian asylum seekers experiences in the Lebanese Criminal Justice System.

Year commenced PhD study: September 2021

Institution/Organisation: The University of Edinburgh

Funding Source: College Research Award (Law)

Full or part-time: Full time

PhD Supervisors: Dr Milena Tripkovic, Dr Michelle Burgis-Kasthala


Marya’s research investigates the criminalisation of Syrian asylum seekers in Lebanon. The goal is to contribute to criminological scholarship by producing geographically specific information about the criminalization of refugees – from the country with the most refugees per capita.

Syrian refugees have been scapegoated as the cause of many of Lebanon’s social and economic ills, with little research addressing their experiences of victimization in the Criminal Justice System (CJS). The impact of gathering such information is the possibility of developing a fairer asylum process for individuals who have been marginalized in the CJS.

The research will take the form of qualitative interviews with Syrian asylum seekers who have fled the Syrian civil war and sought refuge in Lebanon to discover how and why asylum seekers are unlawfully detained and how the criminal justice system functions to deem them as deserving of punishment, regardless of their victimhood. This will be conducted alongside legal research into the failures in refugee governance by the Lebanese state to outline how legislative change must be made. Key questions are:

  1. How do processes of criminalization operate in the wider Lebanese socio-legal context, specifically in relation to Syrian asylum seekers?
  2. How can we create a framework for a more equitable asylum system by drawing on current Lebanese immigration policies and refugees’ experiences of them?
  3. What can asylum seekers experiences tell us about the wider criminalization of refugees in the Global South?

Keywords: borders, criminalisation, racialisation

Recent publications:

Al-Hindi, M. (2023) “Criminalising Palestinians: History and Borders in the Construction of the Palestinian Threat”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 36-46. https://doi.org/10.5204/ijcjsd.2888

Al-Hindi, M. (2020) “A Comparative Analysis of the Femicide of Migrant Domestic Workers in Bahrain and Lebanon: The Systemic Abuse of Foreign Female Labourers” Contemporary Challenges: The Global Crime, Justice and Security Journal, vol. 1, https://doi.org/10.2218/ccj.v1.4943



University of Edinburgh

Research Themes

Globalisation, Harm and Social Justice

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