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Appeal for release of Spanish journalists held in Syria

Appeal for release of Spanish journalists held in Syria

The families of two Spanish journalists - one of them 2012 Rory Peck Award winner Ricardo Garcia Vilanova - are today appealing for their safe and immediate release in Syria.

UPDATE: Ricardo and Javier were freed on 29th March 2014. Read more here.

Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, a freelance photographer and cameraman, and Javier Espinosa, bureau chief of El Mundo in the Middle East, were abducted on 16 September at a check-point near Tal-Abyad in Northern Syria. They are being held in facilities belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Riqqa.
Their families have decided to go public about their detention after weeks of attempted negotiations with the journalists' captors. They are appealing to the Syrian people and to all armed groups to help release Ricardo and Javier - both experienced and award-winning frontline journalists - who have covered events in Syria since the conflict began. The Rory Peck Trust is also calling for their safe and swift release.
Ricardo and Javier are two of at least thirty journalists - half of them Syrian - who are currently missing or kidnapped in Syria. At least twelve are foreign freelance journalists, including Americans Austin Tice and James Foley and Swedes Magnus Falkehead and Niclas Hammarström. The identity of some has not been publicised.

A Facebook page has been set up by the families, as well as a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #FreeJavier_Ricardo.

Press releases

Download the full press release in English (PDF 62kb)

Download the full press release in Arabic  (PDF 99 kb)

Testimonies from inside Syria about Javier and Ricado

Tesimonials in English (PDF 80k)

Testimonials in Arabic (PDF 13mb)





Find out more

The Trust is supporting many freelancers - both Syrian and international - who have been reporting the conflict since it began. We have also helped the families of those who have been killed and kidnapped with financial assistance and on-going support.





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