Austin Tice (SFS ’02, LAW ’13), a freelance journalist for the Washington Post, McClatchy, and numerous other publications, is likely to have been taken into custody by the Syrian government, according to an article published today on McClatchy’s website. Tice, who had spent the summer in Syria traveling with rebel forces and reporting firsthand on the country’s civil war, has been missing since August 23, when his family reported that they had not heard from him in over a week.
According to McClatchy, a publishing company that distributes to newspapers, the law student, journalist, and former Marine infantry officer has been reported by Czech diplomats to be in the custody of the Syrian government after being detained by army forces in Daraya, a suburb of Damascus. The article also includes that the U.S. State Department has used official channels in attempt to discern information about Tice’s location and wellbeing, but offers no official information:
The U.S. State Department says the Syrian government has not responded to inquiries about Tice that were made through official channels and that U.S. diplomats were “working through our Czech protecting power in Syria to get more information on his welfare and whereabouts.”
The Washington Post offers similar information, adding a message from the publication’s executive editor urging his safe release:
“We’re investigating reports that Austin Tice is in the custody of Syrian authorities,” Marcus Brauchli, The Post’s executive editor, said in a statement. “If the reports are true, we urge these authorities to release him promptly, unharmed. Journalists should never be detained for doing their work, even — and especially — in difficult circumstances.”
Tice, who, like many journalists covering the conflict, entered Syria without a visa, has attracted the attention of advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, as well as the Committee to Protect Journalists, which reports that Syria is currently the most dangerous place in the world for journalists.
Vox will update this post as the story develops.