Syria: systematic violence against media increases, one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists

30 mei, 2012

The most recent report is that of filmmaker and journalist Basel Shehadeh who was killed in Homs this Sunday, May 26th. Some of the reports describe gruesome executions, such as the atrocious murder of citizen journalist Khaled Mahmoud Kabbisho in Idlib. Directly after his arrest his head was crashed by an army tank. The activist, regularly posted videos of demonstrations in Idlib on his YouTube channel. Three days earlier, the body of citizen journalist Alaa Al-Din Hassan Al-Douri was delivered at his family’s home. There was evidence that he had been tortured to death. Furthermore citizen journalist Mohammed Abdelmawla al-Hariri was sentenced to death for “high treason and contacts with foreign parties”. He was arrested on 16 April just after giving an interview to the television station Al-Jazeera about the situation in his hometown of Deraa. He has been severely tortured.

The reports show systemic violations, torture and executions of journalists, bloggers and citizen reporters in Syria. In the light of these reports, Hivos is particularly concerned about the faith of the imprisoned journalist Mazen Darwish of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), one of  Hivos’ partner organizations. This important media centre has given  practical and legal support to Syrian journalists and monitored human rights violations against  journalists and bloggers. The director, Mazen Darwish, has been held incommunicado  without any charges since his arrest on February 16. The Syrian authorities refuse to say where he is being held. He is not being allowed access to his family or lawyers, in complete violation of international law. So far, no charges have been brought against him. Mazen Darwish has been subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

Appeal Hivos urges Kofi Annan to address the case of Mazen Darwish with the Syrian authorities during his visit to Syria, and get first hand information about his health situation.

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