March 3, 2014 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Rebels free Spanish journalist after six months

Reporters Without Borders is immensely relieved to learn that Marc Marginedas, a veteran war reporter for the Barcelona-based El Periódico newspaper, was released yesterday in Syria after six months in captivity and is now back in Spain, where he has been reunited with his family. “We are delighted by Marginedas’ release and we hope that all the other journalists – both foreign and Syrian – currently held by rebels or the government in Syria will also soon be freed,” said Lucie Morillon, head of research at Reporters Without Borders. “We urge all parties to the conflict to free not only all the news providers but also the peaceful human rights activists they are holding.” According to El Periódico, Marginedas entered Syria across the land border with Turkey on 1 September with the aim of covering government preparations for a response to a possible western military intervention in Syria, and to investigate the use of chemical weapons against civilians in a Damascus suburb on 21 August. He was kidnapped on 4 September with his driver near the city of Hama by the jihadi group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). ISIS is believed to be holding other news providers including two Spanish journalists – Javier Espinosa and Ricard Garcia Vilanova – and four French ones – Français Didier François, Edouard Elias, Nicolas Hénin and Pierre Torrès. A total of 17 foreign journalists and more 20 Syrian news providers are currently being held hostage by rebel groups or are missing, while around 40 Syrian professional journalists and citizen-journalists are being held by the government.