New York, September 22, 2017–Syrian-American journalist Halla Barakat and her mother, Syrian opposition activist Orouba Barakat, were found dead yesterday in their Istanbul apartment, the Turkish news agency DHA reported today. Friends alerted the police when Halla Barakat, 23, did not show up for her reporting job at the Syrian opposition website Orient Net, according to the Associated Press.
“We call on Turkish authorities to find those responsible for the murders of Halla Barakat and Orouba Barakat, and bring them to justice,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “Turkey must ensure the protection of Syrian journalists who have fled to the country seeking safety.”
Barakat and her mother had received threats on social media and email from supporters of the Syrian government, but never paid them much attention, a reporter who knew Halla Barakat, and who has not been named for safety reasons, told CPJ. At least four other Syrian journalists have been murdered in Turkey since 2015, after fleeing there, according to CPJ research.