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Journalist Marc Marginedas back in Barcelona after 6 months of captivity in Syria

On Sunday evening, almost 6 months after having been kidnapped in Syria, Marc Marginedas, El Periódico de Catalunya’s war correspondent, arrived at Barcelona El Prat Airport in a plane of the Spanish Air Force. The journalist was “in good health”, according to the Spanish Government. Marginedas was able to cross the border between Syria and Turkey, where he boarded the plane after having been freed in the middle of the night on Saturday. He was welcomed back by his family, the Director of El Periódico, Enric Hernández, the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, and the Spanish Executive’s Delegate in Catalonia, María de los Llanos de Luna. Catalan Ricard Garcia Vilanova and Andalusian Javier Espinosa are still in captivity in Syria; there are around 30 international reporters and 100 local journalists still held prisoner in the Arab country.

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03 March 2014 07:16 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Sunday evening, almost 6 months after having been kidnapped in Syria, Marc Marginedas, El Periódico de Catalunya’s war correspondent, arrived at Barcelona El Prat airport in a plane of the Spanish Air Force. The journalist was “in good health”, according to the Spanish Government. Marginedas was able to cross the border between Syria and Turkey, where he boarded the plane after having been freed in the middle of the night on Saturday. He was welcomed back by his family, the Director of ‘El Periódico’, Enric Hernández, the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, and the Spanish Executive’s Delegate in Catalonia, María de los Llanos de Luna. The Catalan Government considered that it was a great day “for the family of Marc Marginedas, for the newspaper El Periódico and for the people who value freedom, one of the pillars of society”. It also underlined its “solidarity” with other journalists who are deprived of the right to exercise their profession throughout the world, including thirty foreign journalists and more than a hundred local reporters who are in captivity in Syria. Catalan Ricard Garcia Vilanova and Andalusian Javier Espinosa are still held prisoner in the Arab country.


Marginedas was captured on the 4th of September 2013 by rebel jihadists, close to the city of Hama, in Western Syria. He had entered the country three days before, through Turkey; accompanied by members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). He was supposed to cover the potential U.S. intervention in the country, which was expected at the time. He also had  to investigate the chemical attack which had occurred on the 21st of August in the outskirts of Damascus.

While he was held prisoner, Marginedas moved locations several times. In recent weeks, due to the intensity of the fighting among rebel factions, such moves became increasingly frequent and the living conditions more extreme, said the journalist after being released. 

A veteran war correspondent

Marc Marginedas, 46, had travelled to Syria twice before being abducted. The veteran war correspondent has covered several conflicts in the world. In 1995, he was El Periódico’s correspondent in Algeria, covering the bloody civil war between Islamists and the regime. Afterwards, he worked as the Catalan newspaper’s Moscow correspondent, remaining in Russia until 2002 and covering the second Chechen war (1998-2000), with constant trips to the separatist Caucasus republic. In 2002 he returned to Barcelona and has been working as a reporter in war zones ever since (notably Iraq, Darfur and Libya).

Marginedas has reflected on his most significant past experiences in his first book, published last year, Periodismo en el campo de batalla (which would read as ‘Journalism in the battlefield’). Last May, the book was a finalist of the 29th Cirilo Rodríguez Prize for special envoys and correspondents of the Spanish press.

Two Spanish and Catalan journalists among the 30 foreign reporters still held captive

‘El Mundo’ Journalist Javier Espinosa and Catalan freelance Photographer Ricard Garcia Vilanova are still held prisoner in Syria, where they were kidnapped on the 16th of September 2013, near the town of Tal Abyal (Province of Raqqa), just 12 days after Marginedas.

Two weeks after arriving in Syria, Javier Espinosa (from Malaga) and Ricard Garcia Vilanova (from Catalonia) were captured along with four members of the Free Syrian Army by a radical organisation linked to Al Qaeda: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL).  

While the four Syrian soldiers were freed two days after being kidnapped, the two journalists are still held prisoner. In total, there are 30 foreign journalists and over a hundred local reporters still in captivity in Syria.  

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  • Marc Marginedas hugging his sister at El Prat Airport (by El Periódico)

  • Marc Marginedas hugging his sister at El Prat Airport (by El Periódico)