Exposed: Syrian movie director faked own 'foolproof' assassination attempt to finance prison abuse film
Muhammad Bayazid was in Turkey last month promoting his film The Tunnel, which documented torture at Syria's notorious Tadmur prison, when he was allegedly stabbed in the chest.
Bayazid, who studied film-making in the US, claimed the attack was an assassination attempt by Syrian regime agents, apparently because of his work.
The film focuses on the story of a Syrian-American man who spent 20 years in Palmyra prison, where thousands of opponents of the Assad regime were tortured and summarily executed.
However, one of Bayazid's producers, Mohammed al-Hindi, filmed conversations with the director which revealed that Bayazid was planning to fake his assassination.
The videos appear to show conversations that took place between May and June, with Bayazid trying to co-ordinate his own assassination in attempts to finance The Tunnel by gaining sympathy for being targeted by Assad's goons.
"Arabs, Arabs, Arabs... When they see that this project has taken the spotlight, they will start donating," he is heard saying in the clip.
Bayazid began by creating a fictional account on Facebook using a VPN to hide his online tracks.
This Facebook account was supposed to create a background to the assassination attempt, creating an illusion that Bayazid had already been in contact with somebody he trusted about the film.
|We will both be the most famous people for 48 hours - everyone will be talking about this|
One of the calls between al-Hindi and Bayazid refers to the director's intention to fabricate an assassination attempt while speculating over various possible scenarios.
"The nationality of the attacker has to be Syrian," Bayazid purportedly tells al-Hindi.
"It makes sense because I am around Syrians and a Syrian right now would be the one who would be most likely to hurt me. I am in Saudi Arabia right now and almost everyone I am meeting with is Syrian."
He discussed various scenarios in which this Syrian character could hurt him. One of them included kidnapping, while another was a murder attempt with either a bladed weapon or a firearm.
"We will both be the most famous people for 48 hours - everyone will be talking about this," Bayazid is said to have told al-Hindi.
He promised al-Hindi that, after the attack, he would be famous and potential movie funders would surge towards him.
"Straight after the attack happens, my phone will be with you. You will tell people on my social media and there will be a massive scene. For 12 hours you will have people calling you and you will be the point of contact," he tells al-Hindi in one clip.
"You're going to pick up because you're going to have an idea of what happens - and when I recover from the attempt, I will give my account and they will both match
"After that, we will reveal the trailer [for the film] and talk about how we did not want to reveal it yet, but it is the right time to do so," he tells al-Hindi.
The Syrian regime, notorious for its crackdown on press freedoms, would be automatically accused of being behind the assassination attempt. Anyone who may suspect Bayazid fabricated his story would stay quiet because they would not want to feel as though they were defending the brutal regime.
After the investigation was initially revealed to the director, Bayazid told The New Arab that the film was based on a true story and claimed that there was a larger mission to assassinate his character.
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