New York, October 8, 2008–The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned for the safety of two American journalists on vacation in Lebanon who have not been heard from since October 1.
Holli Chmela, 27, who had just finished an internship at The Jordan Times, and Taylor Luck, 23, a staff writer at the paper, had flown to Beirut from Amman, Jordan, on September 29 on a vacation, according to international wire reports.
The U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, which has confirmed the case, told The Associated Press that the journalists had told a friend that they were taking a road trip from Lebanon to Syria and were going to return to Jordan on October 4.
“We are concerned that there has been no word from Holli Chmela and Taylor Luck,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “We call on the authorities to do all in their power to locate them.”
On October 3, the U.S. Embassy issued a travel warning for American citizens in Lebanon, saying there was “potential for groups or individuals to exploit the end of the holy month of Ramadan to undertake violent actions targeting Americans.”
The U.S. Embassy said in a statement that it has launched an investigation and is working on the case with Lebanese security forces, the U.S. embassies in Amman and Damascus, and the U.S. Department of State in Washington.