Pakistani journalist Sajid Hussain, who was living in exile in Sweden and had been missing since March 2, has been found dead, police said on Friday.
“His body was found on April 23 in the Fyris river outside Uppsala,” police spokesperson Jonas Eronen told AFP.
Hussain, hailing from Balochistan, was working part-time as a professor in Uppsala, about 60 kilometres north of Stockholm, when he went missing on March 2.
He was also the chief editor of the Balochistan Times, an online magazine he had set up, in which he wrote about drug trafficking, forced disappearances and a long-running insurgency.
“The autopsy has dispelled some of the suspicion that he was the victim of a crime,” Eronen said.
The police spokesperson added that while a crime could not be completely ruled out, Hussain's death could equally have been the result of an accident or a suicide.
“As long as a crime cannot be excluded, there remains the risk that his death is linked to his work as a journalist,” Erik Halkjaer, head of the Swedish branch of Reporters without Borders (RSF), told AFP.
According to the RSF, Hussain was last seen getting onto a train for Uppsala in Stockholm. Hussain came to Sweden in 2017 and secured political asylum in 2019.
The Pakistan Foreign Office declined to comment when asked about Hussain by AFP.
The editorial board of Balochistan Times had publicly shared the news that he had been missing from the Swedish city of Uppsala since March 2 and that a formal case had been filed with the Swedish police on March 3.
Taj Baloch, a friend of Hussain's in Sweden, had met him a day before his disappearance and said everything seemed fine. The next day, his phone was off, and he would not return any calls. The last someone had heard from him was when he was in a hostel office, getting the key of his room and he said he would call back.
The family had expressed profound concern as to how a journalist could go missing in a country like Sweden that always advocates press freedom.