Syria holding B.C. journalist, Al Jazeera confirms
The father of a B.C. journalist who went missing in Syria on Friday says Syrian officials have confirmed that they are holding his daughter, Dorothy.
Fred Parvaz says Syrian authorities have told Al Jazeera English, the news agency where his daughter works, that they have Dorothy Parvaz in their custody.
"They have not communicated to me. They have talked to al Jazeera and they have informed them that they are holding her," Fred Parvaz told CTV News Channel Wednesday from his home in North Vancouver.
Parvaz says he finds some comfort in knowing that Syria has detained a number of journalists over the past few months and then let them go. "That's what I'm hoping they'll do to my daughter," he said.
Parvaz says he's been in touch with the Canadian embassy in Damascus, who promised to do what they could.
Parvaz's fiance and family have started a Facebook page called "Free Dorothy Parvaz," asking for help pressuring the Syrian government to release any information. So far, the page has more than 3,800 followers.
Dorothy Parvaz, 39, who holds American, Canadian and Iranian citizenship, has not been heard from directly since she arrived at an airport in Damascus where she had been assigned to report on anti-government protests.
Al Jazeera has said that its journalists have faced ever increasing restrictions in Syria since the protests began. "We are worried about Dorothy's welfare, security and safety. Syria should release her immediately," a spokesperson said.
Parvaz's fiance, Todd Barker, says if the Syrian government has her, he's "okay with that."
"I just want to know that she's safe and that she's comfortable," he told CTV British Columbia Tuesday from Portland, Ore.
Parvaz has been based in Doha, Qatar, for Al Jazeera since August 2010, after spending a decade at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Sheelagh Brothers is a teacher in Vancouver who went to high school and university with Parvaz, before Parvaz went on to the University of Arizona for her master's degree in journalism. She says her friend loves her work.
"She's a really caring person and she's just really a good person, and so passionate about news and reporting and getting a story out," Brothers said.
The National Organization for Human Rights in Syria said Tuesday that authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people since Saturday to stop an uprising against President Bashar Assad.