A Lebanese journalist who is currently being held by a rebel group in Syria, has said that he is “under house arrest...and in good health” in a video which was distributed by his employers on Sunday.
Fida Itani, was abducted by the group known as The Northern Storm Brigade, which is led by Abu Ibrahim and was responsible for abducting a number of Lebanese Shiite pilgrims earlier this year.
In the video, the LBCI TV journalist said: “I am the journalist Fida Itani, and I am being held under house arrest by the Northern Storm Brigade in Aazaz. And I am in good health.”
Itani is shown standing outside a small house in the countryside, with the words “Northern Storm Brigade” painted on its walls.
The rebel group posted on the Facebook page on Saturday that they had kidnapped the journalist as his work was not in line with the aims of the ongoing revolution. “The work of journalist Fida Itani is not compatible with the revolution... We therefore have placed him under arrest for a short time,” it said.
It said he would be released “as soon as remaining information requested about him is gathered,” without elaborating.
LBCI said that they had contacted Abu Ibrahim, who “confirmed that Itani is in the custody of the Aazaz rebels.”
Ibrahiim was quoted as saying that the journalist was taken because he was taking too many photographs and raising suspicions.
Assault condemned; calls for release
Doha Centre for Media Freedom has condemned Itani’s detention and called for his immediate release. The centre has repeatedly called for journalists to be protected throughout the conflict which has seen both regime and rebel forces targeting members of the media.
Head of the Syrian National Council Abdel-Basset Sida also condemned the assault and said that the journalist will be released soon.
“We denounce and reject the kidnapping of Fidaa Itani,” Sida told Al-Joumhouria newspaper, vowing that the Lebanese journalist would be released soon.
“The revolution should abide by the [UN] charter on human rights and respect the freedom and dignity of journalists as they are supporting the revolution and helping it to echo throughout the world,” he said.
“I am against all forms of abduction, especially those of journalists,” Sida added.
Source: AFP, DCMF