Jordan claims Atyani is kidnapped

Rappler.com
Jordan believes Atyani has been kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf, but the Philippine authorities still deny it

 Baker Atyani (left) with Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan back in June 2001. Photo from CNN

MANILA, Philippines – Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani has been kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf on the island of Sulu, according to the Foreign Ministry of Jordan, debunking claims by Philippine authorities.

The Jordan Times quoted on Friday, June 22, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sabah Rafei as saying: “Efforts exerted via the Jordanian embassy in Tokyo and our consul in Manila have confirmed that Atyani was kidnapped.”

“We are following up the case in order to secure his safe release,” added the official.

Rafei did not give any more details and the Consulate General of Jordan in Manila was unable to comment.

Sulu Gov. also wants Atyani deported

Philippine Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo earlier said Atyani is with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group but is “safe and not threatened.”

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sulu Governor Sakur Tan supported Robredo’s recommendation for the Jordanian to be deported once he resurfaces.

Tan went a step further and declared he wants him investigated and arrested before his deportation.

“I will have him arrested. I will have him investigated for promoting these criminals and then we will deport him,” he told the Inquirer.

Tan accused Atyani of breaking the peace in Sulu and said he is not paying much attention to the situation of someone who is just “hiding”.

The governor also criticized Atyani’s two Filipino crew members, Ramel Vela and Roland Letrino, for agreeing to go “with that fool” and interview the Abu Sayyaf leadership without police or military protection.

Respect his human rights

Also on Friday, the Zamboanga Times published an interview with Human Rights Commissioner Jose Manuel Mamaug, who reminded the government of its obligation to protect Atyani’s human rights.

Mamaug said it is the duty of the authorities to look for him and provide him with security even if they think he brought this situation upon himself for refusing police and military protection.

“Whether it is deliberate or it was his intention to be kidnapped is not to be discussed,” he said. – Rappler.com

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