CJFE letter to the Syrian government regarding Dorothy Parvaz

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mr. Bashar Akbik, Counsellor & Chargé d'Affaires to Canada
Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic
46 Cartier Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 1J3

May 3, 2011

Dear Mr. Akbik,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is greatly concerned by the disappearance of Al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz, who has been missing since April 29, 2011, when she arrived in Syria. She had been sent to Syria in order to cover the antigovernment protests.

Parvaz has American, Canadian and Iranian citizenship, and entered Syria under her Iranian passport. She arrived in Damascus on a Qatar Airways flight, but has not been heard from since. Al Jazeera has stated that they are concerned for her safety and are “requesting full cooperation from the Syrian authorities to determine how she was processed at the airport and what her current location is.” No statements have been issued by the Syrian government regarding her location.

Since mid-March, many local journalists and bloggers have been detained, most of whom remain in custody. Restrictions have been placed on media organizations operating in Syria, with almost all foreign media banned and an inability to access troubled areas making an independent assessment nearly impossible.

CJFE urges the Syrian government to ensure the safety and immediate release of Dorthy Parvaz. CJFE calls upon Syrian authorities to protect the safety of all journalists, and to allow media organizations to report freely from Syria.

We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President

Cc: Mr. Glenn V. Davidson, Ambassador of Canada in Syria;
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada