Mohammed Eissa

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Militants from the Islamic State group murdered Mohammed Eissa, a former cameraman for the Syrian Nateq Network news website, his brother Yasser confirmed to the Committee to Protect Journalists 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 released a 15-minute video on June 25, 2016, 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. The men also perform re-enactments of their alleged reporting.

Eissa, 41, was abducted on October 2, 2015, after refusing to pledge allegiance to the group, his brother Yasser told CPJ. Yasser told CPJ they both worked for a local news website, Nateq Network, reporting on events in Deir al-Zour and its environs. Yasser left the province shortly before the Islamic State group took control in 2014, but Mohammed remained behind. According to News Deeply, the group forced all journalists to pledge allegiance and agree to restrictions on their continued work as journalists.

Other victims in the video were abducted 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 in Islamic State arrived in Deir al-Zour in October 2015 and tightened restrictions on the press.

Eissa says in the video that he had worked for Nateq Network before the Islamic State group entered the city, and that he had sent information to his brother for publication on Al-Jazeera’s website in exchange for money. A militant from the Islamic State group then slits Eissa’s throat while the journalist is handcuffed to a chair.

Yasser, who frequently contributes to Al-Jazeera, told CPJ that the allegation Eissa sent information to Al-Jazeera is false. He said he believed his brother had been “intensely tortured” to make a false confession. He added that he was not sure exactly when his brother was killed, but he said sources close to the group had informed him two months prior to the video’s release that Eissa had been executed.

A spokesman from Al-Jazeera told CPJ that the video was not relevant to the network.

Nateq Network reported that Eissa had been killed in May 2016 following torture, citing unnamed individuals close to the Islamic State group. According to the outlet, Eissa worked under the name Mohammed al-Homsi but, in the office, he also became known as “Abu Marwan Reuters” in recognition of his skill as a reporter.