New developments have been revealed in the case of a missing Pakistani journalist.
Breitbart News reports that the body of Sajid Hussain has been found — and though “suspicions of foul play have weakened following an autopsy,” according to Breitbart, police say questions still remain before they can rule it out entirely.
In late April, a body was found in the Fyris river in Uppsala, a city near Stockholm, Sweden, Breitbart reported. Now, it has been determined that it does belong to Hussain, a 39-year-old Pakistani journalist who had been missing since March 2.
According to the BBC, Hussain had been “last seen boarding a train in Stockholm on his way to Uppsala.”
Since then, “no one, including his family, has heard anything from him,” according to Erik Halkjaer, head of the Swedish chapter of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the AFP reported.
An untimely death
According to Breitbart, Hussain had been living in Sweden since 2017, after fleeing in 2012 from the persecution of Pakistani officials who took issue with his reporting on the county’s corruption. In 2015, Hussain founded an online magazine called Balochistan Times, for which he was a publisher and the chief editor.
In 2018, Sweden granted Hussain asylum, and he had been studying and lecturing at Uppsala University up until his disappearance.
A statement from staffers at the Balochistan Times said they are “deeply saddened by the demise of our dear friend and the founder of this magazine,” Breitbart reported.
The staffers went on:
[Hussain’s] work often got him into trouble as the authorities did not like his reporting of Balochistan’s forbidden stories, the reason he had to leave and live in exile.
Waiting for answers
Because of his “reporting on corruption, forced disappearances, and human rights violations” in Pakistan, as Breitbart put it, the possibility does exist that Hussain was taken out. Police had initially opened a “murder investigation” into Hussain’s death, according to Breitbart, “but suspicions of foul play have weakened following an autopsy,” the outlet reported.
“But we’re still waiting for a few more answers,” a police spokesperson told reporters, according to Breitbart.
Still, the BBC says “Pakistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist.” According to the outlet, “[i]t ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in the 2019 RSF Press Freedom Index.”