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Dorothy Parvaz
The father of an Al-Jazeera reporter who went missing in Syria last month and is believed to have been sent to Iran has appealed to Tehran to treat her "with compassion," RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Dorothy Parvaz, who holds U.S., Canadian, and Iranian citizenship, disappeared after she flew to Damascus from Qatar on April 29.

Syria said earlier this month that Parvaz was put on a plane to Tehran on May 1, escorted by the Iranian consul in Damascus, because she had been carrying an expired Iranian passport.

Iranian authorities have not confirmed Parvaz is in Iran, though Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a briefing on May 17 that the ministry is "following" the case.

Parvaz's father Firouz told Radio Farda one day earlier he had not heard from his daughter since April 28.

He said he has contacted the Iranian Embassy in Canada, where he now lives, to solicit information about his daughter.

Firouz Parvaz said he hopes "the Iranian authorities treat Dorothy with compassion and let her call us to relieve us from anxiety." He added that his daughter, who was born in Iran, has visited that country only once in the past 30 years, for two weeks in 2006.

More in Persian here
Belarusian newspapers "Nasha niva" and "Narodnaya vola" face closure.
BABRUYSK, Belarus -- The opposition United Civic Party (AHP) branch in the eastern Belarusian city of Babruysk is campaigning to support two independent newspapers threatened with closure, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

The Information Ministry filed lawsuits with the Supreme Economic Court on April 27 aimed at closing down "Nasha niva" and "Narodnaya volya," after issuing them three warnings over their allegedly "erroneous" coverage of domestic events.

Belarusian law allows the Supreme Economic Court to shut down a media outlet after it receives three such warnings from the Information Ministry.

The editors of the two newspapers say the move against them is politically motivated.

Viktar Buzinayeu, who heads the AHP branch in Babruysk, told RFE/RL that 200 signatures have been collected in support of the two papers, of which 170 have been appended to a first petition sent to Information Minister Aleh Pralyaskouski.

Buzinayeu said petitions will be sent to the ministry on a regular basis as more signatures are collected until pressure against the two newspapers ends.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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