Press freedom group CPJ urges UN to probe Yemeni journalist’s death

Press freedom group CPJ urges UN to probe Yemeni journalist’s death
Anwar Al-Rakan was held for over a year by Houthi militias before being released in extremely poor health. (Courtesy Yemen Akhbar)
Updated 13 June 2018

Press freedom group CPJ urges UN to probe Yemeni journalist’s death

Press freedom group CPJ urges UN to probe Yemeni journalist’s death
  • Anwar Al-Rakan died on June 2, two days after he was released by the Houthis.
  • Committee to Protect Journalists wants the UN Security Council to investigate.

LONDON: International press freedom group the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on the UN to investigate the death of a Yemeni journalist detained by the Houthis.

The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate said Anwar Al-Rakan died on June 2, two days after he was released by Houthi militias. He previously worked for Al-Gomhouria, a government-run newspaper.

The journalist had been missing for about a year. His family said he was abducted because he possessed a press card from the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate.

They heard nothing of his fate until the Houthis contacted them to inform them he was being transferred to a local hospital. The journalists’ syndicate, Belqees TV and the independent newspaper Al-Masdar, all say Al-Rakan was tortured in custody and was released because his health had deteriorated so badly. Photographs of the journalist’s emaciated body have been circulated on social media.

The US-based CPJ wants the UN Security Council to investigate Al-Rakan’s death.

“Even by the standards of Yemen’s civil war, the year-long torture and deprivation suffered by journalist Anwar Al-Rakan marks a new low,” said Sherif Mansour, the CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.

“We call on the Houthis to stop targeting the press and to release the 11 journalists reported to be in their custody. The Houthis ultimately must be held accountable for the treatment of journalists in the areas they control.”

According to the CPJ, numerous journalists have been abducted, detained and tortured by the Houthis since 2014.