A 28-year-old Norwegian working for the country’s state broadcaster NRK has been held in a Yemeni prison for twelve days, the channel revealed on Wednesday.
Raymond Lidal was arrested by police while filming in the capital Sana’a on the night of March 28, as Saudi jets carried out strikes across the city, according to Bergens Tidene, one of the papers he worked for.
He stands accused of illegally working as a journalist after entering the country on a tourist visa.
NRK on Wednesday confirmed that Lidal had filed several reports for the channel from the country.
“The man has over the last two years delivered a few reports for NRK though he has also worked for others,”Per Arne Kalbakk, the channel’s news director, said.
”We have been in contact with the Foreign Ministry several times since we found out, and we are in constant contact with his friends and family.”
As well as contributing footage to NRK, Lidal had been working freelance for several Norwegian newspapers and magazines.
The Houthis, a militant Shia group backed by Iran, took control of the Yemeni government in Sana’a this year in a military coup, leaving the country’s official president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to set up a temporary capital in Aden, southern Yemen.
Frode Andersen, Head of Communications at Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Norwegian diplomats were in contact with Yemeni authorities.
”We have made it clear to the government of Yemen that they are fully and completely responsible for the life and health of this Norwegian citizen,” he told NRK.
Lidal has been residing in Yemen on and off since he came to study in 2011, despite recent dramatic events in the country which have prompted most other foreigners to leave.
Andersen pointed out that the Norwegian government had long discouraged citizens from working or living in Yemen.
“Norwegian authorities have very limited possibilities to provide assistance to Norwegians residing in Yemen and we have long discouraged all travel to or stay in the country,” he said.
Lidal was last active on Twitter on March 27, asking why the Houthis were advancing east at the same time as preparing for a Saudi attack.