x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Family urge release of reporter in Syria

Dorothy Parvaz, a journalist with Canadian, US and Iranian citizenship, has been detained in Syria since Friday.

DUBAI // Friends and family have appealed for the release of an Al Jazeera journalist who has been detained in Syria for a week.

Dorothy Parvaz, 39, who spent part of her childhood in the UAE, was held in Damascus shortly after arriving from Doha on Friday to cover the unrest in the country.

"We are worried about Dorothy's welfare, security and safety," a statement released by the network said. "Syria should release her immediately."

Ms Parvaz's family, through Al Jazeera, said the Syrian government had confirmed her detention. The Syrian Embassy in Abu Dhabi did not respond to a request for comment.

Ms Parvaz's fiancé, Todd Barker, issued an emotional statement via Al Jazeera in which he described the reporter as a "global citizen".

"She grew up in Iran, the UAE, Canada and America, where she became a dedicated journalist," he said. "She sees her profession as a force for peace, justice and good in the world. She is tough, she is a fighter, no doubt she is stronger than us. She is very loved, we need to know she is safe."

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists also expressed concern over the detention of Ms Parvaz.

Ms Parvaz holds Iranian, American and Canadian passports. The Iranian foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, acknowledged the case on Monday on the TV station 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," he said.

Ms Parvaz lived in Dubai in the early 1980s, after leaving Iran and before moving to North America.

mcroucher@thenational.ae