Over the year since her husband disappeared, a pallor has crept into Nzinga Islam’s life. Work and school have been tough, as she must drop everything when he gets to call her from his cellphone, halfway around the world. While their oldest child, at eight, is terrified for her father, their youngest, two, has never met him.

Sharif Mobley, a US citizen, did not abandon his family. He was snatched of the streets of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in 2010, on terrorism suspicions that local courts have dropped. But one year ago today was the last time Mobley’s lawyers were able to contact him.

Those lawyers, with the human rights group,Reprive have over the last 365 days struggled without success to get the Yemeni government to publicly display Mobley, and to enlist an Obama administration at least somewhat complicit in his initial detention to advocate on Mobley’s behalf with its ally. Now the Houthi coup that has deposed President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and upended the US-Yemen relationship has thrown those efforts into even greater uncertainty.

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