Captive Ukrainian journalist escapes Syrian rebels

2f18kochneva escapes syrian rebels Captive Ukrainian journalist escapes Syrian rebels

Relatives and friends of the journalist said Kochneva managed toescape the building she was kept in, and hid from the pursuers inthe mountains. She then had to walk about 15km before reachingSyrian army forces, and is now travelling to Damascus insafety.Kochneva ironically wrote she’s “back from theWonderland” in a short LiveJournal post, promising some further detailslater.Anhar Kochneva, who had reported critically about the Syrianrebels for Russian and Ukrainian news outlets, was captured in thebeginning of October 2012 near the city of Homs. The city, seen asthe cradle of the Syrian revolution, has recently been goingthrough frequent fighting outbursts, which Kochneva was followingat the time of her capture.The kidnappers, members of the Free Syrian Army, had repeatedlythreatened to kill the journalist in December, if a US$50 millionransom was not paid. They later lowered the sum to reportedly$300,000, and announced they had “spared” Kochneva for thetime being.Kochneva’s relatives said they had been unaware of her fatesince New Year, and accused the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry of being“inactive” and “ignoring the negotiationprocess.”Syrian rebels, who had been in contact with the journalist’sformer husband, also claimed that Ukrainian authorities were doingnothing. The rebels uploaded several videos of Kochneva last year,in which she admitted to having participated in the fighting, andof working as a military interpreter with Syrian and Russianofficers.International groups like the Committee to Protect Journalists,ARTICLE 19, the International Press Institute and Reporters WithoutBorders have questioned the objectivity of these videos, saying thejournalist appeared to be speaking under pressure.The groups urged the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian OppositionCoalition to ensure that the journalist is safe and set free, andcalled for world governments to assist in her release.The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine has said that it was taking allnecessary measures to free the journalist and urged Damascus for“concrete results” in attempts to release her.The ministry has confirmed on Monday that Kochneva is free,without elaborating on the circumstances of her escape.


Captive Ukrainian journalist escapes Syrian rebels

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