CPJ calls for investigation into murder of Syrian journalists in Turkey

New York, October 30, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Turkish authorities to investigate and bring to justice the murderers of two Syrian journalists found slain in an apartment in the city of Urfa in southeastern Turkey today. Ibrahim Abd al-Qader worked as the executive director and Fares Hamadi as head of the production department for Eye on the Homeland, a Syrian media collective, according to a statement on the group’s Facebook page.

A member of the Syrian journalist collective Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) told CPJ that Abd Al-Qader was also an early member of their group. CPJ will recognize Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently this year at the organization’s annual International Press Freedom Award.

The RBSS member, Abu Mohammed, as well as Ahmed Abd al-Qader, Ibrahim’s brother and a staff member of Eye on the Homeland, both told CPJ they believe Islamic State militants were responsible for the murders.

“We call for an immediate and thorough investigation by Turkish authorities into these heinous murders and to bring the culprits to justice,” said CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia Program coordinator, Nina Ognianova. “The risks to journalists operating in Syria are well documented. These murders show how the grave risks journalists face in Syria have metastasized across the porous border with Turkey.”

Both Eye on the Homeland and Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently have reported from inside the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa despite the extraordinary risks. Both journalists have been threatened by Islamic State before, according to Turkish press reports. Last year, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently member Al-Moutaz Bellah Ibrahim was kidnapped and murdered by Islamic State.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The second paragraph has been modified to correct Abd Al-Qader’s role with Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.