#FreeAustinTice trending on anniversary of kidnapping in Syria

#FreeAustinTice trending on anniversary of kidnapping in Syria
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The hashtag #FreeAustinTice trended on Twitter Wednesday, the seventh anniversary of the freelance journalist's kidnapping in Syria.

Austin Tice, a former Marine, arrived in Syria in 2012 and traveled the region working for various news organizations before his disappearance.


The identity of his captors and his current whereabouts remain unclear, though a video from five weeks after his capture was released, showing Tice bound and blindfolded. The State Department believes he remains alive.

“We know he's alive because we've had information from the highest level of our government that he is,” mother Debra Tice told WBUR.

The National Press Club, which has pushed for his release, called on journalists to use the hashtag on Wednesday to "send a message that his freedom matters." The group also created a website for people to send letters to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Linda Ronstadt tells Pompeo at dinner that he'll 'be loved' when 'he stops enabling Donald Trump' Gaetz defends Ukraine call: Trump acted on 'sincere' concerns of corruption MORE calling for Tice's release.

The Houston born 38-year-old is the only American journalist being held abroad.

"Austin Tice was abducted in Syria seven years ago today. No words can describe his family's suffering, or our awe of their determination and perseverance," former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryBiden rallies with John Kerry in early primary states Booker on Harris dropping out: 'Iowa voters should have the right to choose' Warren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race MORE tweeted.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe Hillicon Valley: FTC rules Cambridge Analytica engaged in 'deceptive practices' | NATO researchers warn social media failing to remove fake accounts | Sanders calls for breaking up Comcast, Verizon Bipartisan senators call on FERC to protect against Huawei threats MORE (R-Texas) described Tice as "someone who risked his life to report on the Syrian Civil War from the inside," while Tice's father shared a birthday message with the hashtag.