Director-General urges inquiry into death of photojournalist Niraz Saeed in a prison in Syria

24 July 2018

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Niraz Saeed, a photojournalist whose demise in detention in Syria was announced on 16 July.

“I wish to express my condolences to the family of Niraz Saeed,” said the Director-General. “I urge the authorities to conduct a transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Niraz Saeed, his long detention, and death in custody. It is the duty of governments everywhere to respect due process of law. UNESCO is deeply committed to promoting the safety of journalists because freedom of speech is a fundamental right, essential for any society”.

The widow of Niraz Saeed announced her husband’s death on 16 July, but information about the date or cause of his demise were not available.

Saeed who documented life in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus had been in detention since October 2015. In 2014, aged 23, he had won a photo contest organized by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, and the European Union.

UNESCO promotes the safety of journalists through global awareness-raising, capacity-building and a range of actions, notably the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

See also: UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray@unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 08 91