News of two foreign journalists missing in Saudi Arabia
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has obtained confirmation that the Saudi authorities are holding Marwan Al Muraisi, a Yemeni journalist missing in Saudi Arabia since June 2018, and Abdel Rahman Farhaneh, a Jordanian journalist who disappeared in the east of the country in February of this year.
Muraisi’s wife reported in a tweet that she had finally received a phone call from him lasting several minutes. It was the first time he was able to contact any family member in the more than 11 months since his disappearance. She said he was able to confirm that he was still alive but not say where he was being held.
RSF was one of the signatories of a letter in September 2018 that called on the Saudi authorities to shed light on his status.
Confirmation of Farhaneh’s detention by the Saudi authorities was obtained a month ago. A Jordanian journalist in his 60s, Farhaneh went missing on 22 February in the eastern city of Dammam, where he had been based for more than 30 years. He wrote for Al Jazeera until Riyadh broke off diplomatic relations with Doha. He also covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
According to the information obtained by RSF, his family learned that the Jordanian embassy had been told by the Saudi authorities that he would be released “soon.” The family interpreted this as recognition by the Saudi authorities that they are holding him. No precise date has been given for his release.
As is the case with Muraisi, it is still not known where Farhaneh is being held.
Following the blogger Hatoon Al-Fassi’s recent provisional release, RSF continues to call for the release of 29 other detained journalists and bloggers. At least two journalists are still missing in Saudi Arabia, which is ranked 172nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Inde.