Concern for Safety of Photojournalist

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned for the safety of Mohamed Neili, a Libyan photojournalist missing since October 29.

Neili, who works for the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency, disappeared after leaving his house in southern Tripoli, according to media outlets and a local press freedom center.

Neighbors said they witnessed Neili being abducted near his house, according to local reports and the Libyan Center for Press Freedom, an independent local press freedom group that documents violations against the media.

In Libyan media outlet reports, Neili’s neighbors said they saw him being taken away in a black car they did not recognize.

The Libyan Center for Press Freedom told CPJ the photojournalist was kidnapped in his own car. Neighbors told the center that gunmen in a car stopped Neili a few blocks from his house then forced themselves into his car and drove away.

For too long, journalists in Libya have faced a high risk of attack, including kidnapping by militias, and there has been no authority to investigate these crimes. This climate of fear and intimidation has all but shut down media coverage of the ongoing conflict,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said.

“We call on anyone with information about Mohamed Neili’s whereabouts to come forward, and anyone holding him to release him immediately.”

The ministry of information of the Tripoli-based government, which is not internationally recognized, has called on the ministry of interior to find the journalist, according to news reports.

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