Al-Jazeera reporter freed, now in Qatar
BY TRACY SHERLOCK, VANCOUVER SUN
Freed North Vancouver journalist Dorothy Parvaz should be home in B.C. in the next few days, her relieved father Fred Parvaz told The Vancouver Sun.
"I'm expecting her home soon; she will be on her way shortly," Parvaz said. "I talked to her last night at 9:30 p.m. and she sounded just normal, like nothing had happened. We just couldn't believe it — all of a sudden her call came from nowhere."
As soon as she cleared customs after getting off a plane in Doha, Qatar, she called her fiance Todd Barker's cellphone. Barker was with Parvaz in North Vancouver.
Dorothy Parvaz, who works for television network Al Jazeera, went missing on April 29 when she arrived in Damascus on assignment. She holds U.S., Canadian and Iranian passports. Syrian authorities said they deported her to Iran because her passport was expired, but Iran initially denied any knowledge of her whereabouts and later claimed she had committed "violations."
Iran does not recognize multiple citizenships, though they have now released her and she immediately flew to Qatar.
Al Jazeera reported that Parvaz said said she had a "terrifying experience" while being held in Syria.
"I was in the Syrian detention centre for three days and what I heard were just savage beatings. I didn't know what these men had done, one agent said that two of them were responsible for murders in or near Deraa," the television network reported on their website.
I was handcuffed repeatedly, blindfolded, taken to a courtyard and just left to hear these men being beaten
"I was handcuffed repeatedly, blindfolded, taken to a courtyard and just left to hear these men being beaten. They all sounded very young, they all sounded to be in their late teens or early twenties. So it was an overall terrifying experience," she said.
She told her father she was treated well in Iran, but he did not press her for further details.
"She wouldn't be free if it wasn't for the work of the press," her father said. "You really band together when one of you is in trouble. It's a very powerful support group.
"I'm grateful to the press and I'm very happy to have my daughter back."
Parvaz, 39, began working with Al Jazeera in 2010.
She was born in Iran, but moved to Canada when she was 12. She once wrote in a feature article examining her tri-national identity, "When I think of home, I generally think of Vancouver, B.C., where my parents live and where I completed my high school and undergraduate education in the verdant, cool climate of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I don't think of Tehran's hot and dusty streets."
The Vancouver Sun article about freeing of Dorothy Parvaz, al-Jazeera journalist
Maynard Institute: Iran frees Canadian journalist who had been held in Syria