Citizen journalist and satirist Abdulwahab Mulla, 24, was kidnapped from his house in Aleppo’s liberated area by unidentified masked gunmen on October 8, reported Halab News Network in a Facebook update.
The Arabic posting also contained an appeal to all insurgent groups, judicial entities and brigades of the Free Syrian Army to help in identifying his kidnappers and to demand his immediate release. It reads [Arabic]:
شبكة حلب نيوز هـــام : مجموعة مسلّحة تختطف شمعة الإعلام الحر في حلب “عبد الوهاب المُلا” أحد أبرز أعضاء “شبكة حلب نيوز”. شبكة حلب نيوز تطالب الجهة الخاطفة بإطلاق سراحه أو الكشف عن هويتها ومطالبها، وتناشد جميع ألوية وكتائب الجيش الحر والثوار والهيئات الشرعية والقضائية بالتحرك والسعي قدماً نحو معرفة الجهة الخاطفة وإطلاق سراحه على العجل
Urgent: Aleppo News Network: An armed group has kidnapped the beacon of free press in Aleppo Abdulwahab Al Mulla, one of the most prominent members of the network. The network appeals to the group which has kidnapped him to release him immediately or make itself known and state its demands. We also appeal to all the brigades of the Free Syrian Army, the rebels and the judicial entities to identify his kidnappers and demand his immediate release.
Beirut-based Shakeeb Al-Jabri, Shabab Souria managing editor in Al-Ayyam newspaper, reported on Twitter that Mulla “is the latest victim of anti-press violence,” where his kidnappers are yet to be identified:
— Shakeeb Al-Jabri (@LeShaque) November 8, 2013
Mulla is known for his hit YouTube comedy show, entitled “3-Star Revolution,” which documents the daily struggles Aleppian citizens face during the unrest. He also sings, reports from the frontline, and employs his graphic designing skills in political discourse. Nevertheless, he is also known to be critical of such kidnapping incidents in his videos, one he is now a victim of, as they are infamous in Aleppo as well as across the country.
His kidnapping follows a series of abductions targeting journalists, specifically those who expose crimes perpetrated by extremists, in Syria’s non-government-controlled areas. Commenting on Mulla’s kidnapping, Al Ghad Al Arabi’s news anchor Mousa Omar stated in Arabic during the news segment below that “it is a shame that regime-controlled areas have more freedom and safety than liberated areas.”
While those abroad began a virtual campaign for his release by creating Facebook pages and Twitter hashtags, others expressed concern and prayed for his safety.
Along with his tribute artwork to Mulla, Syrian artist Jawad tweeted that Mulla is:
One of the most radiant and funniest souls I have ever met. Please come back safely AbuStef. pic.twitter.com/3EfwYfU5jW
— Jawad (@Syriapressions) November 9, 2013
Jawad's artwork is inspired by Mulla’s song, entitled “Mother, O’ Mother.” The Arabic text reads, “Mother, O’ mother, they kidnapped me,” that played off the song’s lyrics.
Ahmad Kalaji, a Syrian student based in Canada, also tweeted that Mulla’s voice is a “sound of reason in Aleppo,” and demanded his release:
— حمودة kal3a (@atkalaji) November 9, 2013
Mulla has been missing for four days. Supporters have asked anyone who can account for his whereabouts to please contact his cousin through the Facebook page he setup for Mulla.