The Houthis continue to hold at least ten journalists and one citizen-journalist captive. But they could be holding many more because they provide no information about any of their activities including, as in Rakan’s case, who they have detained and where they are holding them.
“There is no justification for arbitrarily detaining and torturing journalists,” said Sophie Anmuth, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “The Houthis allowed Anwar al Rakan to become fatally ill in detention without providing him with the medical attention he needed and without alerting his family in time. The journalists they are holding, some since 2015, must be freed at once.”
Rakan’s brother told the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate that it turned out he was arrested by Houthi militiamen in Al-Houban province about a year ago after setting off from the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, for his home province. It seems that the press cards found on him were the reason he was arrested.
Currently experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises in its history, Yemen is ranked 167th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.