Iranian authorities release detained reporter Parvaz
Missing journalist Dorothy Parvaz has been released by Iranian authorities and arrived in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday morning local time.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Detained journalist Dorothy Parvaz has been released by Iranian authorities and arrived in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday morning local time, according to her fiancé. He said she was safe and healthy, "just a little tired."
"The family and me are elated, and we're really grateful to the Iranian authorities who treated her very respectfully," said Todd Barker, Parvaz's fiancé. "It's over."
Barker said he received a call from Parvaz around 9:30 p.m. PST. The first words she said to him were: "I'm so sorry." He said Parvaz should arrive in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday or Thursday.
Barker said that Parvaz told him that she had been held in solitary confinement in Evin prison in Tehran. She was questioned by Iranian authorities and kept from contacting her family during the time, but she told him that she was treated well and respectfully.
"I didn't probe," he said. "I was so excited and happy, and I just wanted to know that she was safe and this call was real."
Parvaz, 39, who used to work for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and briefly for The Seattle Times, is a reporter for the Qatar-based news agency Al Jazeera and has Canadian, Iranian and U.S. citizenship.
She used her Iranian passport to enter Syria on April 29 and was detained at the airport in Damascus and hadn't been heard from since.
After several days of silence, Syrian embassy officials said last week that Parvaz had been sent to Iran after she'd attempted to illegally enter Syria on an expired Iranian passport. She'd given "tourism" as her reason for travel, Syrian embassy officials said, although the purpose of her trip was to cover the unrest in Syria for Al Jazeera.
Iran was silent on Parvaz's whereabouts until Tuesday, when Iran's foreign-ministry spokesman said she had committed several violations, but stopped short of admitting she was being held in Iran.
Parvaz told Barker she had seen things while in the custody of Syrian authorities that nobody else had seen before, but he didn't ask her further about it, he said.
Parvaz's parents also got to speak to their daughter on the phone, he said.
Kristen Young, a friend and former co-worker of Parvaz's, said when she found out that Parvaz was safe she was so happy she started screaming.
Parvaz's work has taken her to Qatar, Iran and, most recently, Japan to report on the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami for Al Jazeera. She won a prestigious Nieman Fellowship in 2008, spending a year at Harvard University before moving to Britain, where she earned another fellowship at Cambridge, where she focused on the media and Iran.
After Parvaz went missing, U.S. officials, human-rights groups, co-workers and others around the world mounted a campaign calling for her release. More than 16,000 people supported a "Free Dorothy Parvaz" Facebook page.
Barker and Young said they were thankful for all the support.
"It's been an effort that's been rapid, really smart," said Barker.
"I'm so grateful that in a world where so much is happening, people can focus on the well-being of one person," said Young.
Information from The Associated Press and The Seattle Times archives was included in this report.
Queenie Wong: 206-464-2108 or email@example.com
Because of incorrect information from a wire service, the original version of this story published May 18, 2011, said Dorothy Parvaz won the Nieman Fellowship in 2009. Though Parvaz is a 2009 fellow, she won the fellowship in 2008.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.