Al Jazeera: Reporter freed after vanishing in Syria

DUBAI Wed May 18, 2011 3:04am EDT

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DUBAI (Reuters) - An Al Jazeera journalist who went missing in Syria three weeks ago has been released after she was apparently detained and sent to Iran, the Qatar-based television channel said on Wednesday.

Al Jazeera had assigned Dorothy Parvaz to the Syrian capital of Damascus to cover a wave of protests that have posed the boldest challenge yet to 41 years of rule by President Bashar al-Assad and his family.

"On Wednesday morning, the Al Jazeera network confirmed that she had been released and was safe and in good health," Al Jazeera said in an online statement about Parvaz, who has U.S., Canadian and Iranian nationality.

"She landed in Doha, Qatar on May 18 on a flight from Iran," Al Jazeera said, adding that Parvaz had not been allowed contact with the outside world since it lost contact with her after her flight landed in Damascus on April 29.

Her disappearance sparked widespread online calls for her release, including a Twitter hash tag and Facebook page "Free Dorothy Parvaz."

Al Jazeera said that Parvaz's fiance posted on Facebook: "She is safe in Doha and will be coming to Vancouver, B.C. soon. We can't wait to see her."

(Writing by Erika Solomon; editing by Cynthia Johnston and Mark Heinrich)

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