Syrian journalist Hussam Hammoud must be protected

Syrian journalist Hussam Hammoud learned on Monday that his request for a humanitarian visa had been refused by France. He works on crucial topics, such as terrorism, for many European media. His life is now threatened in Turkey and Syria. Journalists’ unions and societies, including the SDJ du Figaroare waiting for the authorities to reconsider their decision.

For years, Syrian journalist Hussam Hammoud has collaborated with French and foreign media, including Radio France, Mediapart, The world, France 24, BFMTV, The Guardian or the BBC. He has signed remarkable investigations into terrorism and the crimes of Daesh, an organization against which he has always fought. After the withdrawal of the international coalition from this area, he had to flee Raqqa urgently in October 2019. He has since taken refuge in Turkey, where he continues his work as a journalist, in particular on the financing of the Islamic State. And where he is again threatened by terrorist groups.

Monday, September 5, Hussam Hammoud was refused his request for a humanitarian visa by France in a concise email. He hoped, if it had been accepted as was the case for other Syrian journalists, to be able to apply for asylum and shelter his family. At 30, he feels that his life and his dreams are “destroyed”. To refuse him this visa is to keep him under threat from armed groups and put his life in danger.

In the spring of 2019, he provided, with the help of the French journalist Céline Martelet, unpublished documents on Daesh to the French National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office, which then recognized “very important work”. Like thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Hussam Hammoud risks deportation to Syria, where death awaits him – he has already been tortured by foreign jihadists.

France cannot remain silent and indifferent to its fate, when it has the power to act and protect a journalist who risked his life to inform our fellow citizens, and who is today more than ever threatened because of the job he does.

France cannot remain silent and indifferent to its fate

In 2021, the Afghan journalist Elyaas Ehsas had already come close to deportation (to Sweden) because France refused to study his request for protection, while his relatives had been evacuated by the French authorities after the fall of Kabul. After months of hiding and mobilization, he was finally allowed to file his asylum application in France.

We, unions and journalists’ societies signatories to this appeal, urge the government, and in particular the Ministries of Interior and Culture, to grant a humanitarian visa to Hussam Hammoud, in the name of freedom of information and to be informed, pillars of our democracy, and to grant it basic recognition for its contribution to the defense of our values ​​and our security.

Let’s not abandon a journalist thus exposed in Turkey, who can hand him over at any time to the authorities of a country he left because he was threatened with death there. Our rule of law cannot afford such indignity.

Signatories of this press release :

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

Unions: SNJ, SNJ-CGT, CFDT Journalists

Companies of journalists and/or personnel of Arrêt sur images, Arte, BFMTV, Courrier international, The echoesEurope 1, France 2, France 24, franceinfo.fr, FranceInfoTV, Le Figaro, Challenges, L’Huma, JDD, LibéLCI, MarianneMediapart, The worldM6, NRJ group, L’Obs, Paris Match, Le Parisien-Today in FranceFirst Lines, Radio France, RFI, RMC, RTL, South West, TeleramaTF1, The Tribune, The New Factory, Lifethe drafting of Politics

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