Islamist rebels execute Syrian journalist
Published Saturday, August 4, 2012
Syrian television presenter Mohammed al-Saeed, kidnapped from his Damascus home in mid-July, has been executed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.
"The television presenter, a well-known figure on state TV, has been executed, and the al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for the killing," the Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Al-Nusra, a little-known Islamist militant group, claimed the kidnapping and execution of Saeed in a statement on Friday.
"The heroes of western Ghouta (in Damascus province) imprisoned the shabih (pro-regime militia) presenter on July 19," said al-Nusra. "He was then killed after he had been interrogated."
Posted on a forum featuring the al-Qaeda flag, al-Nusra's statement showed a photograph of Saeed looking frightened with his back against a wall in an unknown location.
"May this be a lesson to all those who support the regime," it said.
The Syrian government has long said it is fighting an international Islamist insurgency bent on causing civil strife in the country.
Contacted by AFP, state TV director Maan Saleh said: "We have no material proof of this killing."
Last month, international media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders issued a statement on Saeed's kidnapping, and urged his captors to release him.
"News media and journalists – both professional and citizen journalists – should not be targeted by any of the parties in a war or civil war," it said at the time.
Also on Saturday gunmen kidnapped a employee at the Syrian ministry of education as he was on his way to Damascus.
Muhammed Ali Hussein was traveling into the city when armed men blocked his path, a source close to him said.
"One of his friends received a call from him and when he picked up he could hear sounds of him being beaten, and heard someone say to him 'testify against yourself,' then one of the gunmen took the phone, told him not to call back and then the number went out of service," the source said.