What you need to know about ISIS’ execution of Syrian activist, Ruqia Hassan

Syrian activist and journalist, Ruqia Hassan Mohammed, was reportedly executed in September, 2015 by ISIS for what was only recently disclosed to her family members as “espionage” against their state. Her unfortunate end was confirmed by the activist group Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered (RBSS), which she was a part of. Up until this week (January 3rd, precisely), however, Ruqia was believed to still be alive, especially as the terror group kept her personal Facebook account active, following her capture around July. According to speculations, the purpose for doing so was to hunt down other ‘ISIS enemies’ using her social media accounts.

Hassan, independently reported under the pseudonym “Nisan Ibrahim”, and was known for her detailed accounts of life under ISIS in the city of Raqqa, the terror group’s hotbed, which she refused to leave after it was usurped. She frequently challenged their rule as well as fearlessly participated in demonstrations against them. Hassan is allegedly the first female journalist to be executed by ISIS and the fifth journalist since October last year.

Nisan Ibrahim’s ‘crime’ – Reporting inside ISIS territory

Hassan was placed under ISIS surveillance in August last year for suspicions of spying on the group to the Free Syrian Army (“sahawat”), which ISIS refers to as traitors. When the revolution in Raqqa began, Hassan joined the opposing group and relentlessly mocked ISIS over the internet. Also, her part in the group, Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered (RBSS), a human rights group which focuses on documenting the activities of ISIS in the city, made her a target.

ISIS’ terrifying response

Hassan received death threats prior to her disappearance in July last year and even posted about them. According to Abu Mohammed, the founder of RBSS, Hassan’s last tweet – technically her last words – spoke about how ISIS would likely arrest her and decapitate her head, but she preferred that to living in humiliation under ISIS.

I’m in Raqqa and I received death threats, and when ISIS [arrests] me and kills me it’s ok because they will cut my head and I have dignity it’s better than I live in humiliation with ISIS [sic]

In July, Hassan’s social media trail turned cold and she was never heard from again. Allegedly, ISIS detained her somewhere in Raqqa, only to serve her the death penalty sometime in September for daring to stand up to them. Her death was kept a secret until ISIS decided to inform her family and the general public on January 3, three months after the deed was done.

ISIS, no stranger to carrying out such inhumane activities, purportedly decided to reveal Hassan’s fate in a bid to emphasise its zero level of tolerance for transgression against them. Sadly, three of RBSS’ members have had to pay for their courage with their lives thus far.

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