Families of Kidnapped Lebanese Soldiers Fight to Return Their Loved Ones

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Beirut, Lebanon

January 14, 2015

Dozens of families have set up protest tents in downtown Beirut to pressure the Lebanese into working on liberating their sons who were kidnapped in August 2014 by militants believed to be affiliated with the Nusra Front and ISIS.
Militants who crossed the border from Syria in the summer kidnapped 38 Lebanese soldiers and security officers. The kidnappers have executed several hostages and threatened to kill more of them if the Lebanese government did not release Islamist militants from prison.
Families of the hostages have been criticized by politicians and residents of Beirut for blocking the roads during protests.
Following a deadly suicide bomb attack on January 10 against the Alawite neighbourhood of Jabal Mohsen in Tripoli, which was claimed by the Nusra Front, security forces raided a building in the overcrowded Roumieh prison where jihadist inmates are held. The militants are believed to have led the bombing from inside their prison cells. Families of the hostages fear that these developments will affect negotiations to release them.

Shot List

1- Tilt down/ wide of poster featuring portraits of kidnapped soldiers.
2- Various of protest tents set up by kidnapped soldiers’ families
3- Medium of Hussein Youssef, father of kidnapped soldier Mohamad Youssef talking on the phone
4- Wide of police vehicle parked next to protest tent
5- Wide of poster featuring kidnapped police officer First Sergeant George Khazzaqa
6- Wide of women in front of protest tents
7- Wide of tents
8- Wide of two women in front of protest tents
9- Various of protest tents
10- Wide of poster featuring kidnapped police officer with the writing: “Abbas Msheik, you have been away for too long"
11- Wide of poster with portraits of kidnapped soldiers and headquarters of the cabinet
12- Wide of two men and a woman sitting next to protest tent
13- Medium of people sitting inside protest tents
14- Close up of kettle with poster featuring kidnapped soldiers in background
15- Various of hostages’ female relatives

NAT SOUND: conversation in Arabic: - We heard explosions -The Lebanese Army will strike them… (woman crying) I did not recognize my son! 16- Close up of woman crying
17- Medium/ zoom out of people sitting inside protest tent


Soundbite (Arabic, Man) Hussein Youssef, father of kidnapped soldier Mohamad Youssef
(0:41-1:49) Twenty or 25 days ago, we, as families, decided to distance ourselves from the media, because at some point, media coverage was harming us. Maybe it was unintentional.We promised the prime minister to open the road and not escalate the situation or make any statements. But 25 days later, after we felt that we were not being dealt with seriously, and following the security procedures taken by the interior minister – we appreciate these measures by we think this procedure could have been made before or later. The prisoners of Roumieh have not been there since yesterday, they have been there for a long time, and this process could have taken place at another time. Anyway, the escalation that we are going to carry out will be proportional to the danger that we felt. For 25 days, we have stayed away from media and remained calm because we felt we have been treated positively. Now we have felt something negative so we are forced to escalate.
We hope that the government can take positive actions to stop us from escalating – not to stop us violently, of course, but to give us a reason not to escalate.

(01:54-02:34) SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Hussein Youssef, father of kidnapped soldier Mohamad Youssef
“After what happened in the north in Jabal Mohsen and in Roumieh prison, I feel that we are back to point zero. This is what drove us insane and caused is to threaten to escalate and demand our rights. We hope that the threats against us are not serious and that we do not wish to block the roads and stop people from going to work. We are also human, and we feel people's pain. We do not wish anyone to suffer the way we are suffering."

SOUNDBITE Arabic, woman Unnamed, Mother of kidnapped soldier Hussein Ammar
(04:16-04:45) “I demand all Arab countries, I demand clerics… I saw my son and could not recognize him. I was told ‘Go see your son, Um Hussein.’ I saw my son and did not recognize him. I ask everyone to help us and help free our children, we are suffering, but now I am suffering more." (04:50-05:03) “I ask all the good people, all the people who can help, to rescue our children, those poor children who were left far and our government is not giving them any attention."

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, woman) Unnamed, Mother of kidnapped soldier Khaled Moqbel
(05:07-04:16) “Our government did not do anything for us, it abandoned us, we have been thrown on the side of the road for three and a half months, and our government did not care about us."

(5:24-05:56) SOUNDBITE (Arabic, woman) Unnamed, Mother of kidnapped soldier Khaled Moqbel
I call on Turkey and the Muslim Scholars Assembly, I ask Erdogan… we are Muslims and the kidnappers are Muslims. For the sake of Prophet Mohammad… This is a human cause. Please help us, and release the captives, interfere in our case, please interfere in our case, for the sake of Prophet Mohammad. We have been sitting on the road for the past four months; nobody is looking at us or has mercy on us.