Wednesday, 8 June 2011

As Syrian 'Gay Girl' blogger goes missing, Facebook group seeks some answers

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A man whose outspoken "Gay Girl in Damascus" blog has made her an unlikely icon of the Syrian uprising has allegedly been abducted.

Relatives of Amina Abdallah, an English teacher seen as a prominent opposition voice thanks to international media exposure, said she was bundled into a car by suspected security agents on Monday.

The disappearance of Abdallah, who holds dual American and Syrian citizenship, has prompted thousands to join online campaigns on both Facebook and Twitter demanding her release.
A post on Abdallah's website written by a woman who introduced herself as her cousin said the blogger had been grabbed by armed men on her way to a meeting.

"Amina was seized by three men in their early 20s," Rania Ismail wrote. "One of the men then put his hand over Amina's mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan."

The claims made on the blog could not immediately be verified. CNN has attempted to contact
Abdallah's family but has so far received no response. Calls to officials in Damascus and at Syria's embassy in London went unanswered.

Abdallah's disappearance came as Syrian officials vowed to step up action against protesters it blamed for the deaths of dozens of security forces. Violence in three months of anti-government protests has killed an estimated 1,200 civilians.
Ismail wrote that Abdallah, who has used her blog to challenge taboos in the conservative country where homosexuality is illegal but unofficially tolerated, had feared she would be abducted.

Abdallah, 35, had previously written about how her father prevented security agents from arresting her for being an Islamic extremist and a foreign agent.
Last month she told CNN she had been in hiding with her father since a second attempt to abduct her. In another blog post she recounted what she said was an attempt to lure her to a hotel to abduct her.


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