Statement: A Demand That Journalist Majed Shamaa Not Be Returned to Syria Because It Is an Unsafe Country

Majed Shamaa Has Criticized Various Parties to the Conflict in Syria, Meaning He Faces a Severe Threat If He Returns

SNHR

Paris – Statement by the Syrian Network for Human Rights:
 
A number of Syrians have published satirical videos on social media, in response to what has become known as the ‘banana issue’, which began after a simple statement by a Turkish citizen on a TV program claiming that he was unable to buy and eat bananas, while Syrian refugees can.
In mid-October, an Orient Network TV show included a brief satirical sketch addressing the banana issue, featuring the channel’s journalist Abdul Majed Shamaa (Majed Shamaa). He was subsequently arrested at his home by Turkish police in connection with his appearance in this sketch on October 30; the next day, October 31, he was interrogated by the Public Prosecution office on charges that the sketch incites “hatred and insults the Turkish people,” but the Public Prosecutor ordered his release because he considered the comedy sketch to fall within the parameters of Majed’s journalistic work, as he works within a well-known media institution, and the sketch falls within the framework of freedom of expression. Despite this order, Majed was not released, but was handed over to the police station to be deported from Turkey to Syria, according to the defense lawyer’s statement, in which he confirmed that his client had been transferred to the deportation center.
 
On November 3, the Orient Media Group published a letter handwritten by Majed, in which he indicated that he was in Gaziantep, and that he had been forced to sign some papers that included a statement giving his approval for his deportation to Syria.
 
Majed, who participated in the popular uprising against the Syrian regime since its early days in his home city of Ma’aret Harma in the suburbs of Idlib, is married with two sons, one of whom attends school in Istanbul, where Majed and his family live due to his work with the Orient Media Network which is based there. Over the years, he has published dozens of satirical videos making fun of the Syrian regime, Syrian Democratic Forces/ the Democratic Union Party, factions of the Armed Opposition, and Hay’at Tahrir al Sham, and accordingly, his presence in Syrian territory poses a serious threat to his life; many posts have already spread across social media pages expressing a desire to take revenge on the journalist Majed Shamaa.
 

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