Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kiwi journalist in Yemen prison

June 25, 2011

Source: ONE News

A Waikato couple are waiting for answers as their son is detained in Yemen.

Journalist Glen Johnson was picked after he apparently entered the troubled Middle Eastern country illegally.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington has confirmed Johnson has been arrested, and that staff in Saudi Arabia are working with the British Embassy in Yemen to provide assistance.

However, he says due to the current security situation in Yemen, providing help is proving to be a challenge.

Stuff said Johnson has covered the Middle East for papers including The New York Times and France's Le Monde, since moving there just over two years ago.

He was also beaten by security forces while covering uprisings in Egypt in February, they reported.

The 28-year old is originally from the small town of Piopio in the Waitomo district, where his parents, Mike and Lin Johnson, are waiting for news from officials.

Mike Johnson says as far as he knew his son had been contracted to do a story in Africa, so the fact he is in Yemen is a surprise.

He says his son is not "gung ho" and is relatively careful, but is passionate about the Middle East.

The last time Mike saw his son was just over two years ago when he left New Zealand.

Mike and Lin say they understand that their son was not being mistreated,

They will not be going to Yemen to look for their son saying "we know it wouldn't be productive".

MFAT lists Yemen as an extreme risk for travel and recommends Kiwis avoid the country.

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