Appeal to Free Spanish Journalist and Photographer Kidnapped in Syria

Monica Preito, wife of Spanish El Mundo journalist Javier Espinosa, appealed and campaigned for her husband's release as well as that of another Spanish freelance photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova in a standing-room-only press conference held in Beirut, Lebanon, yesterday [December 11].

(photo source: Free Javier and Ricardo campaign Facebook page)

(Photo source: Free Javier and Ricardo campaign Facebook page)

According to El Mundo, Espinosa and Vilanova disappeared on September 16 while en route to Syria's Raqqa region, and were subsequently kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS], along with four Free Syrian Army fighters. The fighters were released 12 days later. However, the journalists remain in captivity to date as the ISIS believes they are spies, added the Spanish publication in its report.

Preito, who is also a journalist, stated that they only sought the public's help after reaching an “impasse” with his captors. Vilanova's family are also appealing for help, as Daily Telegraph Middle East Correspondent Richard Spencer tweeted:

Solidarity with the kidnapped journalist and photographer is expressed by Syrians, the international community and journalists alike as BBC Madrid Correspondent Tom Burridge stated in a tweet:

This was not Espinosa's first time in Syria since the unrest. He survived the Baba Amro blast that killed Sunday Times journalist Maria Colvin in February 2012. Twitter user, The 47th, said that while the world neglected Assad's first massacre, Espinosa did not hesitate to stand alongside the truth:

He also implied that the enemies of ISIS and Assad are one:

Twitter user Yalla Souria also remarked that the likes of Father Paolo, Espinosa and Vilanova are captured by both ISIS and the Assad regime:

Another user demanded his release:

Vilanova is also known for his remarkable documentation of Libya, Egypt, and Syria throughout Arab-Spring.

The official campaign for their release issued the following statement, adding in later updates that kidnapping journalists is against the revolution's principles:

‪#‎FreeJavier_Ricardo‬ ‪#‎FreePressFreeSyria‬
Javier and Ricardo have been kidnapped for 11 weeks. They, like scores of Syrian activists and journalists, are missing in the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Javier was in Baba Amr, Homs, during the regime's last offensive in February 2012. He saw his two colleagues, Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik, killed right before his eyes. He still refused to leave Baba Amr until the last civilians were evacuated.
Ricardo has also worked in Syria many times since the start of the revolution, and he has helped organise medicines for doctors trying to help the civilian victims of the war.

Join the online campaign for their release here.

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