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Missing Al Jazeera reporter safe in Qatar, network says

By the CNN Wire Staff
Al Jazeera's Dorothy Parvaz went missing after landing in Damascus, Syria, on April 29.
Al Jazeera's Dorothy Parvaz went missing after landing in Damascus, Syria, on April 29.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Her fiance thanks Iran for Parvaz's release
  • Syria says it deported the Al Jazeera reporter to Iran
  • Iran says it has "no information" about her whereabouts
  • Al Jazeera says Dorothy Parvaz is safe and well in Doha

(CNN) -- An Al Jazeera reporter who disappeared after landing in the Syrian capital of Damascus last month to cover anti-government protests has been released, the network said early Wednesday.

The network said Dorothy Parvaz was safe and well in Doha, where her fiance had gone to greet her. The journalist will head to Canada.

Al Jazeera lost contact with Parvaz after she disembarked from a Qatar Airways flight from Iran on April 29.

In a statement last week, Syria said the 39-year-old journalist was taken into custody after she arrived in Damascus with an expired passport and deported to Iran two days later.

But Iran's state news agency IRNA quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Saturday as saying the Islamic republic had "no information" about her.

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A statement that Parvaz's fiance, Todd Barker, posted on the "Free Dorothy Parvaz" Facebook page indicated she had been taken to Iran.

"She said that she was treated well in Iran. She sounded positive and grateful for the support - but a little embarrassed. We are very thankful to Iranian authorities for her release and good treatment," the statement said.

Added an Al Jazeera spokesman: "We are with her now to find out more about her ordeal over the last 18 days."

Syria has been roiled for six weeks by anti-government protests and has largely prevented foreign journalists from covering the unrest. Media organizations have been relying on social media, eyewitness accounts and cell-phone video to report the story.

Thousands of supporters from around the world started a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter in an effort to draw attention to her disappearance.

Dozens of international journalists have been detained and expelled from Syria since March 15, when anti-government protests began, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists in the Middle East and North Africa.

 
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