Iranian-American journalist Homa (Dorothy) Parvaz has been handed over to Iranian authorities by Syrian security forces, Al Jazeera reports.
The Qatar-based news agency says Parvaz has been deported from Syria to Iran. She had been detained on April 29 when she arrived in Damascus to report on recent protests for Al Jazeera.
"We have now received information that she is being held in Tehran. We are calling for information from the Iranian authorities, access to Dorothy, and for her immediate release. We have had no contact with Dorothy since she left Doha on 29 April and we are deeply concerned for her welfare,” an Al-Jazeera spokesman was quoted as saying.
The Syrian embassy in Washington announced yesterday that Parvaz had planned to “illegally enter Syria with an expired Iranian visa,” which is why she has been handed over to Iranian authorities.
The announcement indicates that the Iranian consulate flew Parvaz to Tehran on May 1 on Caspian Airlines flight 7905.
On May 2, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi responded to a reporter’s question about Parvaz’s arrest in Syria, saying: “I hope this news is not true but if it is, we will urge the Syrian government to follow up on the matter.”
Parvaz, who also holds Canadian citizenship, has been a columnist and feature writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and has worked with Al Jazeera since 2010.