Friends, officials increase pressure to locate reporter Dorothy Parvaz
The U.S. ambassador to Syria has met with a senior Syrian official about journalist Dorothy Parvaz, who disappeared in Damascus on Friday.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The U.S. ambassador to Syria has met with a senior Syrian official about journalist Dorothy Parvaz, who disappeared in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Friday, according to a friend of Parvaz's who is pushing for her release.
"Ambassador [Robert] Ford ... asked for more information and consular access," wrote J.J. Harder, press attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus in an email to Kristen Young. Young worked with Parvaz at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where her stories carried the byline D. Parvaz.
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting to locate Parvaz, a reporter with Al Jazeera news service, who flew to Syria on Friday from Doha, Qatar.
"I'm very concerned," said Parvaz's father, Fred Parvaz, who lives in Vancouver, B.C. He last spoke to his daughter Thursday afternoon, and she didn't tell him she was going to Syria. "She knew we'd be worried. It's not a nice place to go," Parvaz said. "The best-case scenario is she is being held in jail and being treated like a human being."
He said he was encouraged by word that the U.S. ambassador in Syria has become involved. "Any help is deeply appreciated," he said.
Parvaz, 39, has been described as a tough, hardworking reporter who loves being in difficult situations.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., made a formal inquiry to the State Department asking for help finding Parvaz, who officials suspect may have been snatched at the Damascus airport.
"There's a lot of frustration about how slow Syria has been to respond," said Matt McAlvanah, spokesman for Murray. "We're looking at following up in other ways. We want to continue the pressure."
Friends of Parvaz's have been calling and emailing Syrian officials in Washington, D.C., to try to bring about her safe return, and the national Asian American Journalists Association sent a letter to the Syrian ambassador in Washington, D.C. "We are alarmed by the government's silence on her status, especially at a time when so many journalists in the Middle East are being killed or attacked," the group wrote in its letter.
Parvaz, who worked as a reporter and columnist at The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, also worked briefly at The Seattle Times. She joined Al Jazeera in 2010 and had just finished covering the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or email@example.com
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