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Kidnapped journalist is alive: Poland
October 06, 2013
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WARSAW: A Polish journalist who was taken hostage by militants in northwest Syria in July is alive, Poland’s foreign minister said on Saturday.

Marcin Suder was abducted from an opposition media office in the rebel-held town of Saraqeb in Idlib province.

He was working alone for Polish photo agency Studio Melon.

Asked about Suder’s fate Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told radio RMF FM, “He’s alive.”

He declined to give any other details.

Poland has set up a team of specialists based in Warsaw and its embassies in the Middle East to deal with Suder’s case.

He is the only Pole to have been taken hostage in the two-and-a-half year conflict in Syria that has killed more than 100,000.

Syria is the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists says, with at least 39 killed and 21 kidnapped in 2012 by both rebels and government forces.

Most kidnapped journalists have been released but several remain missing.

Soon after the kidnap, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Suder was probably taken hostage by a particularly radical and dangerous group of militants in Syria seeking ransom.

“We have received initial information that it is quite likely that the motive for the kidnapping has the character of a robbery,” Tusk said at a press conference.

“The information that we have received tells us that the group that decided to abduct the Pole is one of the most dangerous and radical,” Tusk added.

A freelancer who worked for the Corbis agency, the Polish photo-agency Studio Melon and other outlets, Suder was abducted during a raid on a media centre in Saraqeb.

When Menhal Barish, a Syrian opposition activist, tried to stop Suder’s kidnappers, he was hit several times with a gun butt and had to be hospitalised. The attackers also took money, computers and cameras during the raid.

No group has claimed responsibility and no demands have been made. Saraqeb has been a rebel-held town. Moderate and hardline opposition groups have clashed during the two-year conflict that the United Nations says has cost nearly 100,000 lives.

Reporters Without Borders had called for the immediate and unconditional release of Suder.


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