Still Missing

Austin Tice, Cuneyt Amal & More Kidnapped Journalists (PHOTOS)

NBC’s Richard Engel got free, but more members of the press are still being held captive. See their photos.

Clockwise from top left: Nickee Butlangan/AP; Family of Austin Tice/AP; Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty; Nickee Butlangan/AP

Richard Engel’s escape from captivity in Syria brings a welcome end to a harrowing five-day ordeal. But for journalists like Engel, the chief foreign correspondent at NBC News, the threat of kidnapping while working in conflict zones is unavoidable—and can lead to far grimmer results. The chaos of Syria’s civil war has made the country the world’s most dangerous for journalists: freelance photographers John Cantlie and Jeroen Oerlemans were kidnapped this summer by jihadis fighting on the rebel side and were both wounded before more moderate rebels secured their release. Reporter Austin Tice has been missing since August and is believed to be in government hands. See photos of the journalists still being held in captivity at the end of 2012.

Family of Austin Tice/AP

Austin Tice

Last seen in Syria, Aug. 13, 2012

Austin Tice, an all-American freelance journalist from Houston, had been reporting in Daraya, near Damascus, when he went missing in early August. The 31-year-old Georgetown law student and former Marine regularly checked in with his parents, Marc and Debra. When they didn't hear from him for a week, they got worried, fearing the worst. The Washington Post and McClatchy News Service, for whom Tice had been writing, quickly posted stories about his disappearance. Nothing. Then, on Oct. 1, a video surfaced that appeared to show Tice draped in a mask—the identity of the man was never confirmed. Losing patience, Tice’s parents traveled from Houston to Beirut in November to see if they could find a way to their son. The Syrian government is still denying any knowledge of Tice’s whereabouts. “We miss Austin’s knowing smile,” his mom pleaded.

Nickee Butlangan/AP

Baker Atyani

Last seen in the Southern Philippines, June 11, 2012

In this image, veteran Middle Eastern TV reporter Baker Atyani poses by the sea wall in Jolo, the capital of the island province of Sulu in Southern Philippines. Atyani, a 43-year-old Jordanian national who famously met and interviewed Osama bin Laden and his aides in Afghanistan months before 9/11, disappeared in June with two of his Filipino crew. The three men were allegedly picked up from their hostel by a minivan on Tuesday, June 12, and never seen again. Atyani may have been traveling to Jolo’s mountainous jungles to interview foreign hostages, though that report has not been confirmed. What is certain is the level of danger he was in. Militants are extremely active on Jolo—notorious for bomb attacks, kidnappings, and beheadings. Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin claims to have no information about Atyani’s whereabouts.

Hasan Sarbakhshian/AP

Mir Hossein Mousavi

Missing since February 2011.

In 2009, Mir Hossein Mousavi, a popular Iranian opposition leader and owner of the newspaper Kalameh Sabaz, was the leading challenger to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the presidential election. Ahmadinejad won the contested vote, but Mousavi didn’t go quietly, demanding the prosecution of those who committed fraud during the election. In early 2011, he asked the government to allow for peaceful protests, and a few days later he went missing. It is believed that he and his wife were taken to Heshmatiyeh Prison in Tehran.

Burhan Ozbilici/AP

Cuneyt Unal and Bashar Fahmi

Missing since mid-August 2012.

Syria is said to be the most dangerous country for journalists today. Cuneyt Unal, a Turkish cameraman, and Bashar Fahmi, a Jordanian citizen who worked as a reporter for the Al-Hurra network, were captured in mid-August after slipping into Aleppo, around the same time journalist Mika Yamamoto was killed during a a fierce gunbattle. At the time of the kidnapping, the pair was believed to be in the hands of pro-government forces. A few days after they went missing, a video of Unal holding a weapon was broadcast on Turkish television.

EPA, via Landov

Zane Alejandro Plemmons Rosales

Last seen in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, May 21, 2012.

Zane Alejandro Plemmons Rosales left his hotel room in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on May 21 to take pictures of a nearby shooting and hasn’t been seen since. The American photojournalist was in the heart of the Zetas drug cartel’s turf when he went missing. A family member called his hotel to try to reach him but was told masked gunmen had been through his room and removed all of his things. According to the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists because of the drug war.

Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty

Prageeth Eknaligoda

Reported missing Jan. 24, 2010.

Sri Lankan cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda went missing just two days before the country’s presidential election. He had been actively campaigning for opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka, who was himself jailed on corruption charges two years ago. Eknaligoda was also an active member of the press, freelancing for a pro-opposition website. His whereabouts are unkown, but those close to him blame the government for his disappearance.