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Middle East & Arab World

IFJ Appeals for Safe Return of Italian Journalist Missing in Syria

30 April 2013

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and its European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), have today appealed for the safe return of an Italian journalist missing in Syria.

Domenico Quirico, 62, an experienced war correspondent for Turin’s la Stampa newspaper, has not been heard from for 20 days. According to La Stampa’s editor-in-chief, Mario Calabresi, the reporter  entered Syria from Lebanon on April 6 to report on the country’s civil war and has not been in contact since April 9.

“On the eve of World Press Freedom Day, we appeal for the safe return of journalist Domenico Quirico and we stand in solidarity with his family and colleagues,” said IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa.

“Mr Quirico is a journalist, free to report on the the Syrian conflict without fear of intimidation or violence. He cannot be harmed or treated as an enemy. If he has been stopped or held by any armed group or faction we appeal for his immediate release.”

La Stampa said they decided to publicise Mr Quirico's disappearance after a search for the correspondent failed to turn up any leads. Mr Calabresi said the journalist, who has reported on conflicts in Sudan, Uganda and Libya, would often disappear for a few days at a time, but not for this long. The Italian foreign ministry has activated its crisis unit to try to trace him.

The National Federation of the Italian Press has called on  whoever is holding Mr Quirico to give free him .

“Whoever has prevented Domenico Quirico from communicating with his newspaper and his family for the last 20 days should know that he has nothing to do with an enemy or warring faction,” said Franco Siddi, Secretary-General of the NFIP.   

“Whoever stopped him in Syria, where he was doing his job as special envoy for his newspaper, La Stampa, please listen to our appeal and give our colleague his freedom.

“He is an experienced journalist, a true witness of the events of war, the Arab Spring, the ethnic conflicts in Africa and the Middle East issue, appreciated and respected like few others. If any armed group or some faction suspiciously stopped him, know that he cannot be a treated as a target.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 221 33 867 95 86/87

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries