Tonight with Lester Podcast

Captured SA photographer is still alive, says Gift of the Givers


Guest : Imtiaz Sooliman | Founder and Chairman at Gift of the Givers |

Humanitarian organisation the Gift of the Givers believes that SA photographer Shiraaz
Mohamed, who was captured in Syria more than two years ago‚ is still alive.
“It has taken two years and three months but finally, Gift of the Givers has received
proof of life for journalist Shiraaz Mohamed, who was abducted on January 10 2017 in
the vicinity of Gift of the Givers Ar Rahma Hospital in Darkoush, Syria,” said the
organisation’s founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.
He said that Mohamed, a photojournalist, had appeared in a "proof of life" video
recording that was made on April 13, giving his family renewed hope.
Mohamed was captured in Syria near the Turkish border after travelling there to
narrate the tragedy of the Syrian people to the world through pictures.
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“My name is Shiraaz Mohamed, a South African photographer. Dr Imitiaz Sooliman, my
South African president, my family, my friends, the international community, anyone
that can help, I need your help in securing my freedom please,” says the man in the
video.
As he speaks, he holds up a sheet of A4 paper with the words, “Saturday, 13/04/2019”
and the name Shiraaz Mohamed. A man wearing camouflage, whose face is covered
and is holding an assault rifle, stands behind him.
“I live in fear of my life. I am scared. We are being bombed. The area that I am in is
being bombed by the Russian air force. The bombs are getting closer and closer and
closer. I need your help. Please help me," the man says.
The first proof that Shiraaz Mohamed was alive was received on January 8 2018 in the
form of answers to 10 personal questions which only he could answer.
“The answers were accurate and Shiraaz's family had no doubt that it was from him. It
has been a very difficult period engaging large networks of people to trace Shiraaz's
whereabouts. The proof of life video, made on April 13 2019, arrived by WhatsApp at
10pm on April 26.
“Shiraaz's family was very emotional, ecstatic, full of hope and grateful to the Almighty.
They knew for certain that Shiraaz was alive,” said Sooliman.
“An important event” on April 12, he added, had led to the receipt of the video.

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