South Africa: Kidnapped journalist returns home after three years

South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed returned home on Friday, January 3, after being held in captivity in Syria for three years. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) celebrates his safe return and reunification with his family.

Credit: Facebook profile

Shiraaz Mohamed, 38,  was abducted on the border with Turkey by a group of unknown armed men, on January 10,  2017. At the time he was working on assignment for Gift of the Givers, a South African disaster relief organization.

The journalist was documenting the effects of civil war and was supposed to exit Syria by car, when he was pulled out of the vehicle by armed men, near a hospital run by the Gift of the Givers. He was then taken “for questioning” and was never released afterwards.  

The exact circumstances of his release remain unknown. Mohamed is said to have escaped his capturers, although his family did not confirm this information.

In late 2018, the IFJ also welcomed the release of Japanese journalist Jumpei Sada. He was held for a similar period of time  – almost 3 years.

Syria remains a dangerous country for journalist to operate in. In 2019, five journalists were killed while working as reporters. The whereabouts and condition of five other journalists who have been captured and held hostage remain unknown.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger said: “We welcome and celebrate the release of Shiraaz Mohamed, after his detention in Syria for three years. The ongoing abduction of journalists and media workers in areas of conflict must end. Journalists should be free to do their jobs without fear of abduction across the world.” 

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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