Syria has told Al Jazeera English that its reporter Dorothy Parvaz is being held by authorities there, according to Twitter feeds from the Doha-based international news organization.
The confirmation of the location of Parvaz, a former Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial writer and columnist, was the first piece of good news since family members and Al Jazeera began saying she had gone missing after arriving at the Damascus airport Friday (April 29). Al Jazeera English also said it had been told she was being treated well.
The Twitter hashtag for those calling for Parvaz's release is #FreeDorothy. Family members appear prepared to increase their efforts to win her prompt release.
The Seattle Times said Parvaz's father, Fred Parvaz in Vancouver, B.C., also received his first word of her detainment by Syria from Al Jazeera. The Times reported that he was relieved:
"When they tell you your daughter's in jail and you're happy, that sums it up," he said. "At least someone's feeding her and there's a roof over her head."
Late this morning (May 4), the family issued a statement on the Free Dorothy Parvaz Facebook page:
Our family has not heard from Dorothy in six days. While the Syrian government has confirmed that they have detained her, we demand that Dorothy is returned to her loved ones. We know that Syria will continue to treat her with the respect she deserves. We will continue to work tirelessly for her return, as will her friends and colleagues across the globe - as will concerned public officials, citizens and journalists who hear Dorothy's story. We encourage everyone to visit the Free Dorothy Parvaz page on facebook to learn what individuals can do to demand Dorothy's immediate release. People can also express support for her on Twitter: #freedorothy
Dorothy Parvaz is a dearly loved daughter, sister and fiancée, and a committed journalist. Dorothy firmly believes that journalism is a force for justice across the globe. She now reports for Al Jazeera English online in Doha, Qatar. We know that Dorothy is staying strong. She is doing her part. Let's do ours to ensure her safe return. We need her released immediately and returned to us.
Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell had spoken with administration officials about the case and, among others, Bianca Jagger helped spread word of Parvaz's disappearance.