Syrian freelance journalist Jihad As’ad Mohamed was arrested by Syrian security forces in Damascus in August 2013. Eight years after his arrest, the journalist’s wife has been unable to confirm if he is still alive or where he is being held.
Prior to his arrest, the freelance writer contributed several critical articles to local news websites, including the pro-reform Alef Today. In his articles, he criticized the government’s crackdown on peaceful protests and called for reforms.
Mohamed was the editor-in-chief of the weekly Kassioun before leaving the paper in the summer of 2012, citing a disagreement with the paper’s editorial position, according to a staff member at Kassioun who spoke to CPJ. The paper is affiliated with the socialist Popular Will party which, unlike other opposition groups, showed a willingness to engage with the Syrian government.
Syrian state security forces had previously summoned Mohamed for questioning several times prior to the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in 2011 and once more after he gave an interview to the Arabic edition of the Russian channel Russia Today in May 2011 supporting protests , according to news reports and Amnesty International. The journalist joined Kassioun in 2006, the reports said.
Mohamed’s wife told CPJ on August 31 that, despite her efforts to gather information about the whereabouts of her husband and rumors that Mohamed had been either killed in detention or seen at a Syrian military intelligence detention facility known as Section 215 and in Damascus’ Sednaya Prison, there is no evidence of his whereabouts.
In August 2021, Mohamed’s wife told CPJ she did not have any new information on Mohamed’s whereabouts, or whether he was alive.
On August 31, 2021, Ghalia Mardam Bek, manager of the Justice and Rule of Law program at Violations Documentation Center, a Syrian human rights group, told CPJ via email that they did not have any updates on Mohamed’s status or whereabouts.
Mohamed’s name does not appear on Syrian human rights organization Violations Documentation Center’s list of 8,000 detainees who were killed under torture in prisons run by the Syrian government.
The Syrian mission to the United Nations has not responded to CPJ’s emailed request for information on Mohamed’s status, whereabouts, and health sent in August 2021. CPJ also emailed the Syrian human rights organizations Syrians for Truth and Justice and the Syrian Network for Human Rights for further information about the status of Mohamed, but neither replied.
A 2021 report by the London-based Syrian Network for Human Rights found that over 100,000 people have been forcibly disappeared in Syria since 2011, the vast majority by the Syrian regime.