Russian Union of Journalists Statement on Anhar Kochneva kidnapping

Russian Union of Journalists Statement on Anhar Kochneva kidnapping

The 15th December is the annual Memorial Day of RUJ and all Russian journalists, when they pay tribute to all their colleagues killed while performing their professional duty. The passional of  killed colleagues now consists of 340 names. A year ago, on December 16th 2011, in the center of Makhachkala was shot the founder of the best North Caucasian newspaper “Chernovik” (Draft), Khadzhimurad Kamalov. Crime still has not been solved and the perpetrators are not still punished. A few days ago, the TV news anchorman from RTR Kabardino-Balkaria, Kazbek Gekko, was also shot. This murder shocked all the professional community. We must do everything possible to prevent further tragedies. Unfortunately, one of them can literally happen in the coming hours.

Anhar Kochneva, Russian and Ukrainian woman journalist, professional orientalist, reporting for a number of prominent Russian media from Syria, was kidnapped in beginning of October near city of Khoms by Liberty Syrian Army forces. Anhar, Palestinian maternal, fluent in Arabic, has managed the tour company in the Middle East and reliably help Russian journalists working in the region. She was known for strongly criticizing the Syrian opposition, known for cruelty to civilians and wr prisoners.

In a month after the kidnapping, on November 7th, her video message was published in the Internet, in which she appealed to the Embassies of Ukraine and Russia, as well as the Syrian government to meet the demands of the kidnappers. Colleagues and relatives got information that she was captured by two leaders of Syrian opposition army,  Aby Jamal and Farid Abu Husein. On November 28th, a second online video with kidnapped journalist appeared. Reading the text in Arabic, she admits to having participated in the battles, translated and support Syrian, Russian officers, worked as a military interpreter.  Both appeals of journalist seem to be made under pressure. Last news received from her and and her prisoners was that they demand amount of 50 mnl. USD for her life, otherwise she would be killed on December 13.

We appeal to all our international colleagues to do all possible to help and to prevent the execution. We believe that all together we could save Anhar’ life, and that  our professional solidarity and common sense will help us to find the best way to influence those who can make pressure on  people from Liberty army and liberate  our colleague. Russian journalists strongly believe in the success of these international efforts. We must not allow a new tragedy happen.

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