There is confusion over the identity of a lesbian blogger allegedly kidnapped in Syria.
Supporters claimed earlier this week that Amina Arraf, the author of the Gay Girl in Damascus blog, had been detained by Syrian security forces.
But a London woman has claimed that the blogger stole her identity and Syrian activists have admitted that no one has met Arraf in person.
The blog featured criticism of the Al Assad regime and musings on life as a lesbian in a country where
It has now emerged that photos used by Arraf on the blog are of a London woman who has no connection to her.
Jelena Lecic said her identity had been stolen.
The images were used by the Guardian, which says it is now investigating their origins.
Supporters became concerned when a woman calling herself Rania Esmail and claiming to be Arraf’s cousin, updated the blog to say she had been bundled into a car by a group of men.
An activist with the Local Coordination Committees, a group which helps document protests against the Al Assad regime, told Associated Press on Tuesday that Arraf had been kidnapped.
A day later, the same activist said there had been “no independent confirmation” of the kidnapping and added that all reports of incident had come from the blog post.
Reporters have been unable to track down the woman claiming to be Arraf’s cousin and speculation is now growing that the writer does not exist.
Arraf claimed on the blog to have been born in Virginia, USA, but reporters have been unable to trace her or her family.
Critics say the blog appears to be genuine, although some details have met with scepticism.
However, Arraf’s supporters say the writer would have had to keep her identity secret.