Sweden: Exiled Pakistani journalist goes missing

UPDATE 5/05/2020 Sajid Hussain, a Pakistani journalist who was granted political asylum in Sweden in 2017, has gone missing. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliates the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in urging the Swedish government to conduct a swift investigation into Hussain's disappearance.

Credit: Journalist Sajid Hussain / Balochistan Times

On Friday, March 28, online Pakistani newspaper Balochistan Times revealed its editor-in-chief, Sajid Hussain has been missing since March 2. The 39-year-old was last seen at 11am on March 2 in the Swedish city of Uppsala.

Hussain’s friends reported his disappearance to the Swedish police after they stopped receiving phone calls from him. “Initially, police refused to register the case saying it is normal in Sweden for someone to go in isolation. We insisted that it was not normal for us. Then they registered the case,"  said Taj Baloch, a friend of Hussain's to Al Jazeera.

Sadij Hussain fled Pakistan in 2012 after receiving death threats, having his home raided, family interrogated and surveilled. Between 2012 and 2017 Hussain moved through Oman to the United Arab Emirates and Uganda before seeking refuge in Sweden. 

Hussain’s online paper, Balochistan Times is known for reporting on alleged human rights violations in Pakistan and there are fears he could have been kidnapped by Pakistani secret services.

PFJU is “concerned over the report of Pakistani Journalist Sajid Hussain’s disappearance and urge the Swedish police to investigate on the matter and let his family know about his disappearance”.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “Sadij Hussain’s disappearance is incredibly concerning as attacks and the harassment of media workers from Pakistan have become routine. We urge the Swedish government to support Sadij Hussain’s family and guarantee a swift investigation into the disappearance.” 

UPDATE 5/05/2020 The journalist was found dead on 1/05/2020 in a river north of Stockholm. 

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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