Photo: Seattlepi.com

UPDATE: Al Jazeera is now reporting that Iranian journalist, Dorothy Parvaz, has been deported from Syria to Iran, where she is being held.

“We are calling for information from the Iranian authorities, access to Dorothy, and for her immediate release. We have had no contact with Dorothy since she left Doha on April 29 and we are deeply concerned for her welfare.” An Al Jazeera spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday.

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The Syrian government has admitted to holding Iranian Al Jazeera English network reporter, Dorothy Parvaz, who had gone missing after arriving in Damascus last week.

Parvaz’s friends and family are not sure as to when she will be released.

“We are worried about Dorothy’s welfare, security and safety. Syria should release her immediately,” a statement released by the Al Jazeera network said.

Parvaz holds US, Canadian and Iranian citizenship and has worked for Al Jazeera since 2010.

“We’re thankful for the official confirmation, it’s a good first step which now allows U.S., Canadians and Iranian officials to take further action,” said Todd Barker, Parvaz’s fiance, of Luxembourg.

“We trust that they will be treating her with the respect that she deserves,” said her father, Firouz Parvaz of Vancouver, Canada.

Ironically, the news has apparently hit Tehran hard as well: Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi also shared his disapproval of Parvaz’s detention via IRIB.

“I hope that it is not true, but if that is the case, then we demand the government of Syria to look into this,” said Salehi.

The unrest in Syria for the past month and a half has led to quite a few journalists’ detention and expulsion, according to Committee to Protect Journalists in the Middle East and North Africa , program coordinator, Mohamed Abdel Dayem.

“The announcement that they are indeed holding any given journalist is usually a precursor to them being released and expelled. Those two things always go hand in hand. Every [international] journalist who has been detained since March 15, once they are released, they are expelled,” said Dayem. “Syria has always been one of the worst countries in the region for local and international reporters. A bad situation has only gotten worse.”

Visit facebook.com/FreeDorothy for more or use the hashtag #FreeDorothy to tweet this and spread the word.


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