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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Killer of Syrian journalist given two life sentences

Naji al-Jerf was fatally shot in 2015

The killer of Syrian journalist Naji Jerf has been given two life sentences, reports Turkey's news site Hurriyet Daily News.

Jerf, the 37-year-old editor-in-chief of pro-opposition Hentah magazine was fatally shot with a silenced pistol in the street by ISIL-affiliated Yusuf Hamed Eşveri. The attack occurred in Gaziantep, southeast Turkey, in December 2015.

Jerf had worked with the prominent anti-ISIL group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently is dedicated to documenting human rights abuses committed by ISIL in their de facto capital of Raqqa. It has also worked to document violations by the Syrian government and rebel groups, as well as coalition and Russian air strikes on civilian targets. Earlier this year, the group was given the International Press Freedom award by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders had warned that Jerf had been receiving threats after making a documentary about ISIL violence.

Two months before the attack, two anti-ISIL activists were found beheaded in the southern city of Sanliurfa, about 150 kilometres east of Gaziantep. ISIL claimed those murders, of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently activist Ibrahim Abdul Qader and Fares Hamadi, who worked with the pro-opposition news website Eye on The Homeland.

In January 2016, four suspects, including Eşveri, were arrested for Jerf’s death.

The court ordered two life sentences on charges of “abolishing the constitutional order” and “manslaughter.” Eşveri was also given five years and five months in jail on charges of the “possession of explosive material” and the “possession of an illegal gun”.