An autopsy has reportedly shown that top Yemeni investigative journalist Mohammed al-Absi, who died under mysterious circumstances in December, was poisoned.
The journalist died in the Yemeni capital Sana’a after having dinner with a cousin. He was said to have been investigating oil companies and had recently published a series of reports on government corruption.
His death had sparked suspicions from his family and the Yemeni journalists’ union who are now demanding an investigation into his death.
"We are troubled by the passing of Mohamed al-Absi in such unclear circumstances and support his family and the YJS in their demands for a serious and independent investigation in the case as well as an autopsy by a doctor representing the union to clarify the cause of his death," said President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Philippe Leruth, which has joined the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) in demanding a probe.
Al-Absi was a prominent Yemeni investigative journalist said to have been investigating oil companies owned by Houthi leadership. He had published a series of reports over the past years, focused on corruption, particularly in the energy industry and in relation to arms deals.
Human rights activists are responsible for the claims that Al-Absi was investigating oil and gas companies allegedly operating on the black market. Activists published several documents that were in the journalist’s possession after his death.
One of the published documents concerns Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam, alleging that he owns an oil company that sells on the black market in Houthi-controlled areas.
The autopsy report comes amid an intensifying proxy war being played out in Yemen between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Earlier on Monday, Houthi Shi’ite rebels said they had fired a ballistic missile at a military base in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh. The Saudis have not confirmed this attack. If true, it would be the first time the Houthis fired on Riyadh.
Last week, Saudi Arabia said the Houthis rammed a “suicide gunboat” into a Saudi frigate in the Red Sea, killing two vessel crew.
By Damir Kaletovic for Oilprice.com
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Damir Kaletovic is a veteran investigative journalist covering Europe and the Middle East, and a senior consultant for Divergente Research.