Questions over kidnapped journalist's Syrian visa

2017-02-04 14:25
SA photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed, who has been kidnapped in Syria. (Facebook)

SA photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed, who has been kidnapped in Syria. (Facebook)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Gift of the Givers says it and its personnel did not apply for Syrian visas upon entering the country, as they received permission from the civilian-controlled region they were working in.

Media reports indicated that missing South African Shiraaz Mohamed and the Gift of the Givers humanitarian mission may have entered Syria unlawfully.

The Syrian Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires told Eyewitness News on Friday that Mohamed had not received visas from the Syrian embassy and presumably entered into the civilion-controlled region through the Turkish border.

Gift of the Givers spokesperson Imtiaz Sooliman told News24 that Syria is at war, and therefore the country is divided into the "Syrian Government section and non-Syrian Government section".

"The non-Syrian Government section controls the north. We obtain (sic) permission from the Turkish government to cross their border into Syria and the permission of the non-Syrian Government civilians to operate in their area," Sooliman said.

"It was these civilians who gave us a building to convert into a hospital and gave us additional land to expand our hospital."

Sooliman said all aid agencies and media can enter the North without any visas because that part of the country did not belong to the Syrian Government any longer.

He also emphasised the South African government passed two motions of commendation in Parliament in recognition of their work inside Syria.

'SA citizens must comply with the law'

Department of International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela told News24 on Saturday that the law should be followed when applying for a visa to another country.

"Our stance has always been if a country requires you to get a visa before you enter that country, South Africans need to comply with that," Monyela said.

"That's what the law says. We wouldn't encourage anyone to break the law despite what the purpose of their mission is."

Monyela said that although Syria's circumstances are unique, the government still holds the legal authority within its borders.

"There is a government in Syria. I don't know if international law and common sense allows us to compartmentalise a country that still has a democratically elected government, despite what the circumstances are.

"If there is a requirement in terms of the law to get a visa, we will encourage South Africans to comply with that."

The Syrian Embassy could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Read more on:    gift of the givers  |  clayson monyela  |  shiraaz mohamed  |  cape town  |  syria

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.