The father of a New Zealand journalist deported from Yemen after spending more than two weeks incarcerated in a prison cell has thanked all who have lobbied for his son's release.

Glen Johnson, 28, was detained on June 25 after entering the country illegally on a ship carrying Somali refugees.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mfat) today confirmed he had been released from detention in Yemen and left the country.

His father Mike Johnson wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to his son's release that he had landed safely in Dubai and that he was treated well and with respect while detained.

Fears about Johnson's safety had been mounting after Mfat's attempts to make contact were unsuccessful.

First news about an imminent deportation of the journalist came to light last Friday when an employee of Yemen's embassy in Washington used the social network to inform Johnson's friends.

It was the first official message about the whereabouts of the journalist and filled his friends and family with confidence that his ordeal would soon be over.

Mike Johnson also thanked Mfat, the Consulate in Saudi Arabia and the Canadian and British Embassies for their hard and unseen work.

The journalist's arrest was also not the first time he had encountered Yemeni authorities. He visited the country last year to report on sexual abuse and was given 36 hours to get out.

Johnson was believed to have been working on a story about people smugglers in Africa when he was arrested last month.

He has covered the Middle East for two years, working for papers such as The New York Times and France's Le Monde.

The Reporters Without Borders 2010 Press Freedom Index, last year ranked Yemen 170 out of 178 countries for freedom of reporting.

- NZPA