DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has been holding two Arab journalists for several months, global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Monday, amid ongoing international scrutiny of the kingdom’s human rights record.
Yemeni Marwan al-Muraisy has been missing since June 2018, and Jordanian Abdel Rahman Farhaneh, who had worked for Qatari-owned Al Jazeera television network, disappeared in February, RSF said in a statement.
The Saudi government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Muraisy’s wife tweeted last week that she had received a brief phone call from him, the first since his disappearance, confirming he was still alive. She said she hoped that she could visit him and that he would be released soon.
RSF said the family of Farhaneh, who is in his 60s and had been based in the eastern city of Dammam for more than 30 years, learned that the Saudi authorities had informed the Jordanian embassy he would be released soon.
It is unclear where the men are being held, the statement added.
Riyadh has come under increasing global scrutiny over its human rights record since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate and the detention of around a dozen women’s rights activists.
A bipartisan chorus of U.S. lawmakers has called on the White House to harden its stance towards Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed by Saudi agents in a move widely seen as an attempt to stifle dissent.
A CIA assessment has blamed the crown prince for ordering the killing, which Saudi officials deny.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Dan Grebler)