Syrian rebels set to execute Ukrainian journalist

Screenshot from a YouTube video showing Anhar Kochneva in captivity

NGOs are urging Syrian rebels to release a Ukrainian journalist, Anhar Kochneva, who is set to be executed Thursday. Meanwhile the group behind the kidnapping warned it would now target all Russians, Ukrainians and Iranians on Syrian soil.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), ARTICLE 19, the International Press Institute and Reporters Without Borders issued a joint statement expressing deep concern about Kochneva’s life and urging the leadership of the Free Syrian Army and of the Syrian Opposition Coalition to ensure that the journalist is safe and set free.

The groups also called on the French, British and US governments, as well as the European Union to work with the Syrian opposition to facilitate her release.

Kochneva, who has reported critically about the Syrian rebels for Russian and Ukrainian news outlets, was captured in the beginning of October near the restive city of Homs. The kidnappers, allegedly members of the Free Syrian Army, threatened to kill her on December 13 if a US$ 50 million ransom is not paid. Continue reading