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Middle east

Spanish journalist kidnapped in Syria released

© Screenshot from El Periódico de Catalunya

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-02

A Spanish journalist who was kidnapped by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria last year has been released by his captors, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced on Sunday.

“I am very happy...I spoke to him early today, he is in reasonable shape, he is happy,” Rajoy told Radio 5, Spain’s public radio station.

Marc Marginedas, a reporter for daily El Periódico de Catalunya, was abducted by jihadists belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a breakaway al Qaeda group, on September 4 near the Western town of Hama. He was then moved to different locations in areas controlled by rebel groups, Marginedas’ newspaper wrote on its website.

The newspaper did not elaborate on how Marginedas was released or whether a ransom had been paid, but said only that he crossed the border into Turkey on Sunday.

The Spanish federation of journalist associations said in a short statement that it was delighted with the news and hoped for a similar outcome with Spanish journalists Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, also currently held in Syria.

Syria, engulfed in a nearly three-yearlong civil war, has become the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, and the number of abductions has soared to an unprecedented level over the past year.

Many of the kidnappings go unreported by news organizations in the hope that keeping the abductions out of public view may help with negotiating the captives’ release.

The scale of the abductions — more than 30 are believed to be currently held — and the lack of response to individual mediation efforts have encouraged some families and employers to speak out.

Marginedas is currently undergoing medical tests in Turkey under the watch of Spanish state officials.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)
 

Date created : 2014-03-02

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