BBG Renews its Call for the Release of Alhurra Journalists in Syria

Family members and other protesters demand the return of Alhurra journalists captured in Syria.

Nuran Unal, left, and Arzu Kadumi, center, wives of the missing journalists protest in Ankara, Turkey in August. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

It has been two months since Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi and his cameraman Cuneyt Unal were taken into custody in Syria. The Broadcasting Board of Governors calls for the immediate release of these two men, who were in Syria in a purely journalistic capacity. Since their August 20 abduction, Unal has appeared on Syrian television once and there has been no information regarding Fahmi.

“These well-respected journalists were doing their jobs reporting on a story when they were abducted in Aleppo two months ago,” said Richard M. Lobo, Director of the BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau. “There has been no contact with either of them since they were captured, and we demand their immediate release to their families.”

Each week, Fahmi and Unal’s wives have held protests outside of the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul calling for their release.  During the last protest, on Oct. 16th, they spoke out about their personal struggles since their husbands’ capture and their hopes for their safe return by Eid al Adha on Oct. 26th.

“I didn’t get any information, just I feel from my heart,” said Nuran Unal. I hope we will be together in this Eid. If not, it will be an emotional disaster for us. I hope, whoever is responsible think about us and let us get together like other families. I know that IHH (The Foundation For Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief) is making some attempts for our husbands’ freedom.”  She went on to say, “I hope they will be successful and I regain my husband and my daughter regains her father.”

Fahmi’s mother, Arzu Kadumi, said, “My son tells me his feelings. I’m trying to not let my children be affected… I tell them, good things will happen and your father will be at home in Eid. If not, I don’t know what I would do. I pray too much, I want people to pray for them. I call to authorities, please let Cuneyt and Bashar be with their families in this Eid al-Adha.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists has named Syria the deadliest country for journalists in 2012, with 20 journalists being killed.

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