Kidnapped Blogger in Syria May Be a Hoax

Photos are fake, and nobody seems to have met Amina Arraf
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2011 5:49 PM CDT

(Newser) – The world grew alarmed yesterday at the fate of Amina Arraf, an American-born blogger said to have been kidnapped on the streets of Syria. Today, it appears Amina Arraf may not actually exist. NPR has been digging into the story and can't find even one person who has met the purported author of the Gay Girl in Damascus blog face-to-face. What's more, a Croatian woman who works in London says photos supposedly of Arraf are actually of her and were apparently taken from her Facebook page, reports MSNBC.

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“I pray that Amina is safely returned to her family but I want to make it quite clear that I am not her despite my photographs being attached to this story,” said Jelena Lecic. At this point, it's not clear whether Arraf is a real person or whether the alleged kidnapping, reported by a woman claiming to be Arraf's cousin, even happened. The Free Amina Facebook page isn't ready to give in. "Questions about Amina's identity are surfacing," it notes. "However, we think it is possible that the writer of the blog is indeed in custody, in which case, it is important to continue to support her." (Read more Syria stories.)

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