Militants from the Islamic State group executed Mahmoud Shabaan al-Haj Hadhir, a volunteer technician for the Dubai-based radio station Al-Aan FM, an employee of the network confirmed following the release of a graphic video showing his murder. The video also shows the killing of four other Syrian journalists and media workers.
The Islamic State group on June 25, 2016, released a 15-minute video showing the murder of five Syrians accused of working with media and nongovernmental organizations in Deir al-Zour, Syria. The 15-minute video, entitled “Inspiration of Satan,” is marked as having been produced by the local media branch of the Islamic State group in Deir al-Zour. The video, which CPJ reviewed, shows the five men confessing, apparently under duress, to collaborating with various media outlets and nongovernmental organizations.
Hadhir was not officially employed with the station but helped manage its transmission equipment in the province, an employee with the Al-Aan network told CPJ, requesting anonymity for security reasons.
The exact date of Hadhir’s kidnapping is unclear, but other victims in the video were kidnapped in early October 2015, according to their families and colleagues. Abu Abdul Rahman, a producer for Free Deir al-Zour Radio, which is opposed to the Syrian government and the Islamic State group, told CPJ that a senior Egyptian figure from the Islamic State group arrived in Deir al-Zour in October 2015 and tightened restrictions on the press.
The exact date of Hadhir’s death is unclear. In December 2015, Syrian opposition news websites reported that the Islamic State group had killed four journalists in Deir al-Zour. Some of these reports cited causes of death different than those shown in the video.
Hadhir is the third individual to appear in the video. He says he was responsible for Al-Aan FM radio in Deir al-Zour province, for which he received a monthly salary. He is then tied to a fence and strangled from behind with a metal chain.