Saudi Arabia: two foreign journalists Marwan al-Muraisi and Abdel Rahman Farhaneh have been detained for months

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Saudi Arabia has been detaining two journalists, Marwan al-Muraisi and Abdel Rahman Farhaneh, for months. The location and the reason of detention remain unknown.

On Monday 20 May 2019, the press freedom group Reports Without Borders (RSF) confirmed that the two journalists have been missing for months and are kept in detention in Saudi Arabia. Marwan al-Muraisiis a Yemeni journalist. He went missing in June 2018 and RSF confirmed his disappearance. His wife reported in a tweet that she was able to talk with him on the phone for several minutes. The phone call was the first contact al-Muraisi had with a family member since his disappearance eleven months ago. Nevertheless, his wife was not able to collect any information regarding the place he has been held. In September 2018, six NGOs, ALQST for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, PEN International, English PEN, Index on Censorship and RSF, sent a joint letter to Saudi Arabia urging to clarify the situation of Mr. Al-Muraisi.

Abdel Rahman Farhanehis Jordanian and in his 60s. He disappeared in late February in the city of Dammam where he has lived for more than thirty years. Farhaneh worked for Al Jazeera before Saudi Arabia broke diplomatic relations with Qatar. Moreover, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent promises to the Jordanian embassy saying that Farhaneh would be released “soon”. However, they never set an exact time. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has not officially commented the detention of the journalists neither it has made clear where they are being detained.

Saudi Arabia has been targeting journalists, bloggers and human right activists. The killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggiis only one sadly well-known case. As a matter of fact, at least 16 journalists have been detained in Saudi Arabia.Furthermore, women’s rights defenders have been recently targeted.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) strongly condemns the detention of the two foreign journalists, Marwan al-Muraisi and Abdel Rahman Farhaneh, which are being held in an unknown location and without a clear reason. Moreover, we call for their immediate release.