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Unesco deplores murder of two Syrian journalists in Turkey

Paris, Sep 27 (IANS/AKI) Unesco on Tuesday deplored the killing in Istanbul of Syrian opposition activist, writer, journalist and filmmaker Orouba Barakat and her daughter Hala Barakat, who was also a journalist.

“I condemn the murder of Orouba Barakat and Hala Barakat,” said Unesco Director General Irina Bokova.

Turkish police found the mother and daughter stabbed to death in their flat on September 21 but investigators believe they were slain several days earlier.

Family members said the women had received threats days before they were murdered.

“I call on the authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime be brought to justice,” Bokova said.

“Criminals must not be allowed to suppress the inalienable human right of freedom of expression, which is essential for democracy, good governance and rule of law.”

Orouba Barakat, 60, a Syrian exile since the 1980s, was a well-known and outspoken critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Syrian National Coalition Opposition group and had written extensively on torture in government prisons.

American-born Halla Barakat, worked as an editor for Dubai-based Orient News, owned by Syrian opposition figures Ghassan Aboud, and was previously a reporter for Turkey’s TRT World Service.

The Syrian National Coalition Opposition demanded a swift investigation of the murders. “The hand of terrorism and tyranny is the prime suspect of this heinous crime of assassination,” the group said in a statement.

The Syrian Journalists Association and the Committee to Protect Journalists urged protection for Syrian journalists living in Turkey and also called on Turkish authorities to bring the Barakats’ killers to justice.

At least four other Syrian journalists have been murdered in Turkey since 2015, after fleeing there, according to CPJ research.


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