Reporters Without Borders

 Sixth citizen journalist killed by Syrian government this year

Sixth citizen journalist killed by Syrian government this year

Published on Monday 7 May 2012.
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Reporters Without Borders is horrified to have learned of the death three days ago of the Syrian citizen journalist Abdul Ghani Kaakeh who was deliberately targeted during a demonstration in the Salah Al-Din district of the northwestern city of Aleppo.

“We strongly condemn this murder, which illustrates the extent to which the government of Bashar al-Assad is ignoring the provisions of the ceasefire plan of the former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan,” the press freedom organization said.

“The name of Abdul Ghani Kaakeh has swollen the ranks of those whose efforts to inform the world about what is happening in Syria has cost them their lives. We should like to offer our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.”

The citizen journalist was hit in the neck by a bullet while he was filming the Aleppo protest. He was reported to have been deliberately targeted by the Syrian security forces, who had ordered him to stop filming moments before he was shot.

He was taken to a makeshift hospital but died of his wound shortly afterwards. He was buried on the same day in his home village of Tel Nassibin, in Aleppo province.

Kaakeh, aged just 19, regularly filmed opposition demonstrations and posted the footage on the Internet, which had led to his arrest several times previously.

He was the sixth citizen journalist killed since the start of the year. At least four of them died in April, as did the Lebanese cameraman Ali Shaaban, who was shot dead on the Syria-Lebanon border.

Reporters Without Borders notes that Assad is on its list of 41 Predators of Freedom of Information.

Another citizen journalist, Ali Mahmoud Othman, who was arrested on 28 March, was interviewed on Syrian television as part of a programme aired on 28 April that claimed to disclose the “secrets of Baba Amr”, the district of Homs that was temporarily held by insurgents and where the journalists Rémi Ochlik and Marie Colvin were killed in February.

Reporters Without Borders condemns this forced confession and macabre piece of stage management, which more are worthy of the practices of the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to reports, Othman was believed to have been subjected to severe torture by the intelligence service since his arrest.

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