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Saudi Arabia forcibly disappears two foreign journalists, including Al Jazeera reporter

Two missing journalists are being detained by authorities in Saudi Arabia [RSF]

Date of publication: 20 May, 2019

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Marwan al-Muraisi, a Yemeni journalist and Abdel Rahman Farhaneh, a Jordanian journalist, were believed missing until Reporters Without Borders announced they were being detained by Saudi authorities.

Two Arab journalists whose whereabouts were unknown are being held by authorities in Saudi Arabia, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) revealed on Monday.

Marwan al-Muraisi, a Yemeni journalist and Abdel Rahman Farhaneh, a Jordanian journalist, have both been missing in Saudi Arabia since June 2018 and February 2019 respectively.

Muraisi's wife tweeted last week that she could confirm her husband was alive, after receiving a brief phone call from him after year since his disappearance.

RSF, along with five other NGO's, wrote a joint letter in September 2018 demanding Saudi authorities explain Muraisi’s disappearance.

Farhaneh's detention was confirmed by Saudi authorities a month prior when "his family learned that the Jordanian embassy had been told by the Saudi authorities that he would be released 'soon'" - an indirect recognition of his detention.

The journalist, who reported for Al Jazeera until the blockade on Qatar, went missing in the eastern city of Dammam where he had been living for over 30 years.

It is unclear where the two journalists are being held. RSF called for the release of 29 other detained journalists and bloggers, noting 2 other journalists are still missing in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record, especially as pertains to journalists, entered the international spotlight after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi - a US-based journalist critical of Saudi Arabia who was later found to be murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The CIA believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to kill Khashoggi and believe his body was dismembered and removed to a location still publicly unknown.

After first denying Khashoggi's murder, Saudi Arabia later said rogue agents had carried out the operation. A trial of 11 suspects opened earlier this year in Saudi Arabia.

In Norway, Iyad el-Baghdadi, a Palestinian-born activist who worked with slain editorialist Jamal Khashoggi said he was whisked away to a secure location by Norwegian security after a CIA tip-off that he "was in possible danger from an unspecified threat emanating from the kingdom". Saudi Arabia has rejected claims that Iyad el-Baghdad is a target.

Saudi Arabia is ranked 172nd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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