Lindsey Snell, a freelance journalist from the U.S., has been detained in Turkey since Aug. 7, the State Department confirmed Wednesday. Turkish authorities have charged her with violating a military zone while entering the country from Syria, the department said.
Snell has been placed at a prison facility in the southern Turkish province of Hatay and U.S. consular officials visited her last Friday, Aug. 26, State Department spokesman John Kirby said. He declined to say why Snell was in Syria.
A State Department official said that the U.S. government knew that Snell visited Syria and they were assisting her to get to a safe location, NBC News reported. Authorities from the U.S. Mission in Turkey were sent to the Turkey-Syria border for Snell’s safe return from Syria. However, upon arriving in Turkey, she was detained by Turkish authorities, the official said.
Hatay Governor Ercan Topaca confirmed that the U.S. journalist was detained by authorities. “A U.S. journalist was captured while she was trying to cross the border illegally; she was taken to court and remanded. The trial phase is ongoing. For now, we do not know if she is a spy or not,” he reportedly said.
In a Facebook post early last month, Snell said that she was kidnapped by al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, but was later released.
“Because of my unique situation, I was able to convince my captors to give me the use of a phone ... which ultimately let me plan my escape, but which also let me document much of my captivity in photos and videos. (And I bet 'don’t give prisoners phones!' will make it into the new Jabhat Fateh al Sham employee handbook.) It’s a crazy story. A cave prison (the previous tenant of my cell had marked his days in residence in blood on the walls), masked villains, motorcycle escapes, and disguises. I can't wait to share the details,” Snell wrote.
The authenticity of her kidnapping story was not immediately confirmed.
According to her Facebook page, Snell is a resident of Daytona, Florida, and was living in Istanbul. On her Twitter account, she described herself as a video journalist. Her LinkedIn profile says that she has been working as senior foreign correspondent for Vocativ since March 2014 and she previously worked for Vice, ABC News and National Geographic.