The Committee to Protect Journalists has expressed grave concern about Syrian journalist Amjed al-Maleh (pictured), detained and threatened with execution by the jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
Reports earlier this week said HTS have indicated they will kill Maleh within the next two weeks.
Maleh is from Madaya in Damascus Province but was displaced when the long-besieged town surrendered to pro-Assad forces in April 2017. He relocated in Idlib Province in northwest Syria, part of which is controlled by HTS.
The journalist was seized outside his home in Idlib city on December 13, 2017, and accused of carrying out media activities against the jihadists.
Three weeks ago, civil society activist Raed Fares — who developed the iconic protests in Kafranbel in Idlib Province and founded Radio Fresh — and photographer Hamoud al-Jnaid were assassinated.
Before he was seized, Maleh reported for local and international media outlets. He posted many of his articles and pictures on Facebook pages that he managed, including those of the news website Huna Madaya and the Local Revolutionary Council of Madaya. In Idlib, he worked as a photographer for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The journalist’s family said he was trying to found a center to protect the rights of internally displaced people. He also was seeking compensation for the displaced, including those forcibly removed under the “Four Towns” agreement which surrendered Madaya and nearby Zabadani to the Assad regime.
Relatives said Maleh was detained because he tried to open an office without HTS permission, with allegations that he has been in touch with foreign countries and written for foreign agencies.