Syrian journalist kidnapped in Homs

New York, August 15, 2012–Unidentified armed men on Monday kidnapped a correspondent for Al-Alam, an Iranian satellite broadcaster supportive of the Syrian government, the latest incident in a series of abductions and attacks against pro-government media in Syria, according to news reports.

Ahmad Sattouf, a Syrian correspondent for the Arabic-language broadcaster Al-Alam, was abducted as he returned to his home near Tadmour Square in Homs, according to a statement on his employer’s website. The Al-Alam office where Sattouf works was also ransacked, the broadcaster reported, although it is unclear if it occurred on the same day as the kidnapping.

Neither Al-Alam nor Sattouf’s family has been able to establish contact with the journalist, Al-Alam’s statement said. Sattouf’s wife told The Associated Press that the journalist had been missing since Monday.

Al-Alam reported that armed groups were responsible for Sattouf’s abduction, but did not offer details.

“We are deeply concerned for the welfare of Ahmad Sattouf and call on those holding him to release him unharmed immediately,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “Journalists are civilians and should not be attacked by any party for their work.”

Attacks against pro-government media have increased in recent weeks. CPJ has documented at least three journalists working for state-run news outlets who have been killed in the past two weeks and several others who have been kidnapped. Sattouf’s abduction is the eighth CPJ has documented in Syria over the past month.

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