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Norwegian journalist arrested in Yemen to return home

IANS  |  Oslo 

Norwegian journalist Lidal, who was arrested last month in Yemen on the charge of spying against the Houthi rebels, has been released and will return home on Sunday, Xinhua reported citing the Norwegian News Agency (NTB).

Lidal, 28, was evacuated from Yemen on Friday along with other foreign citizens. He arrived in Germany on Saturday and will return to Norway on Sunday, his father, Anton Lidal, told NTB.

The journalist, who stayed in Yemen on a student visa, was arrested in Yemen's capital Sanaa when he photographed the Saudi bombing of the country on March 29.

Lidal travelled to Yemen in 2011 to study Arabic. He began working in 2012 as a freelance journalist and contributed to multiple Norwegian media outlets, including Norwegian public broadcaster NRK and the Bergens Tidende newspaper.

The Norwegian foreign ministry said last week that it was familiar with Lidal's case and was following up the matter through the embassy in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, according to a media report.

"We have made it clear to Yemeni authorities that they are fully responsible for the life and health of the Norwegian citizen as long as he is in their custody," Norwegian foreign ministry's communications chief, Frode Andersen, was quoted as saying.

The Houthi group took control of Sanaa in September 2014. The security situation in Yemen has sharply deteriorated since early March when conflicts erupted in several provinces in the country.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia started airstrikes on Houthi targets in Sanaa and other cities late last month, saying that the multinational action was to force the Houthis to retreat from cities they had seized since last year.

First Published: Sun, April 19 2015. 02:32 IST