Al-Jadeed Reporter Ghadi Francis Beaten during SSNP Elections

Al-Jadeed female correspondent Ghadi Francis was “severely beaten” on Sunday by MP Asaad Hardan’s bodyguard Hussein Hashem, al-Jadeed television reported.

Francis was in Dhour el-Shweir area to cover the electoral process held by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.

She told the National News Agency that SSNP leader MP Asaad Hardan’s bodyguard, Hussein Hashem asked her to leave, and assaulted her when she refused.

The party apologized from the TV station, denying that the MP’s bodyguard beat up Al-Jadeed correspondent, condemning the incident.

Francis told NNA that she was on the street, right in front of the hotel where the elections were held, and the bodyguard came out asking her to leave.

The reporter insisted she was on a public street, not inside the hotel, which prompted a violent response from the SSNP member.

“The bodyguard beat up Ghadi, punching her in the face and kicking her multiple times,” NNA reported.

Francis said that several people tried to intervene, “including Firas Shoufi, my colleague in al-Akhbar daily, but the bodyguard also hit him in the face.”

Media Against Violence condemned the attack against Francis, calling for legal measures to be brought against the assailant.

“Targeting journalists is a result of the friendly environment which Hizbullah’s cabinet provides by attempting to silence free voices and distort facts,” the group said in a statement.

“We call on the authorities concerned to take the appropriate measures to track the perpetrator and take legal measures against him,” the statement added.

The SSNP issued a statement apologizing from al-Jadeed, and denying that that the SSNP member who beat Francis is Hardan’s bodyguard.

“We apologize from al-JAdeed, and the head of the station’s Board of Directors Mr. Tahsin Khayyat, as well as all the staff,” the party said.

SSNP added that “the man whose name was mentioned as the correspondent’s assailant is not Hardan’s bodyguard. He is a journalist who works for (the party’s mouthpiece) al-Binaa newspaper.”

The party said it will follow up on the issue with the relevant authorities, condemning that attack that “contradicts with the ethics and culture of the party”.

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