June 27, 2011
Glen Johnson, a freelance journalist from New Zealand, has been arrested in Yemen.
According to the New Zealand Herald, he is being held for allegedly entering the country illegally from Djibouti.
Johnson, a contributor to the New York Times and Le Monde, has covered the Middle East for over two years and, according to his parents, had been investigating a people-smuggling ring for a British magazine.
They also told the Herald they believed their son had not been harmed and was currently in a jail in Lahj province.
This is not Johnson's first encounter with the Yemeni authorities. He visited Yemen last year to report on female sexual abuse and left after the country gave him 36 hours to depart.
He was also arrested four times and beaten once in Egypt while covering the protests earlier this year.
In 2011, press freedom violations have soared in Yemen since violent clashes began between opposition forces and the government. There have been a catalogue of incidents.
During May alone, several journalists were injured when military forces attacked a private satellite broadcaster Suhail TV.
Reporter Farooq al-Kamali was shot in the leg two while covering a gun battle between loyalist troops and members of the Hashid tribal federation.
Armed men raided the offices of independent daily newspaper Al-Oula, where trainee editor Hasaan Saeed Hasaan was stabbed 10 times.
Newspaper reporter Ibraheem al-Ba'adani was attacked in the city of Ibb by opposition forces after being accused of working for the pro-government news agency; on the same day, journalist Abdel Rahman Bajunaid was found stabbed to death in the city of Aden.
Bajunaid was the second journalist killed in Yemen in 2011 following the March shooting death of Al-Masdar reporter Jamal Ahmed al-Sharabi.
International Press Institute press freedom manager Anthony Mills said: "We urge the Yemeni authorities to release Glen Johnson, to allow full access to the country for foreign correspondents, and to ensure that local Yemeni journalists are not obliged to operate in a climate of fear."
Sources: International Press Institute/New Zealand Herald