Syrian television presenter Mohammed al-Saeed, kidnapped from his Damascus home in mid-July, has been executed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.
“The television presenter, a well-known figure on state TV, has been executed, and the Al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for the killing,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Al-Nusra, a little-known Islamist militant group, claimed the kidnapping and execution of Saeed in a statement on Friday.
“The heroes of western Ghouta (in Damascus province) imprisoned the shabih (pro-regime militia) presenter on July 19,” said Al-Nusra. “He was then killed after he had been interrogated.”
Posted on a forum featuring the Al-Qaeda flag, Al-Nusra’s statement showed a photograph of Saeed looking frightened, with his back against a wall in an unknown location.
“May this be a lesson to all those who support the regime,” it said.
Contacted by AFP, state TV director Maan Saleh said: “We have no material proof of this killing.”
Last month, international media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders issued a statement on Saeed’s kidnapping, and urged his captors to release him.
“News media and journalists — both professional and citizen journalists — should not be targeted by any of the parties in a war or civil war,” it said at the time.