Anwar al-Rakan died June 2, 2018, in Taiz Governorate, Yemen, two days after being released by the Ansar Allah movement, commonly known as the Houthis, according to a statement from the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate sent to CPJ and to news reports.
Nabil Alosaidi, co-chair of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, told CPJ that according to al-Rakan’s family, the journalist was abducted approximately one year earlier by Houthi forces in the area of Al-Hoban in Taiz Governorate because he was found in possession of a press card from the syndicate. Alosaidi told CPJ that the family did not know what happened to him until the Houthis contacted them and told them that he had been detained at the Al-Salah detention facility near Taiz and was being transferred to a local hospital. CPJ could not determine the exact date of al-Rakan’s disappearance.
According to the syndicate’s statement, Belqees TV, and the independent Yemeni newspaper Al-Masdar, al-Rakan’s health deteriorated sharply as a result of severe torture while detained, leading to his release shortly before his death. His family quoted the medical report in telling the syndicate that he died from the effects of torture, and photos of al-Rakan’s severely emaciated body circulated online and over social media. According to the Yemeni news website Al-Sahwa and Belqees TV, al-Rakan had previously worked for the government-run newspaper Al-Gomhouria, and Alosaidi told CPJ he had also worked for the newspaper Al-Jamahir.