Obama Administration Deeply Involved in Criminal Cases in Yemen
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Abdulelah Haider Shaye
Two men languishing in Yemeni prisons–one of them an American citizen–have the Obama Administration to thank for their continued incarceration on what critics say are dubious charges related to the so-called war on terror. Now the American, Sharif Mobley of New Jersey, has sued the federal government in an effort to force the release of 13 documents he believes will prove U.S. government involvement in his arrest and imprisonment in January 2010. At the time, American agents interrogating Mobley accused him of coming to Yemen to support Islamist terrorists like Anwar al-Awlaqi, a cleric on a U.S. kill list for his alleged role in terrorist attacks. Although Mobley knew Awlaqi, he and his family claim their association was religious, not political. After weeks of questioning, Mobley’s interrogators largely gave up on him, and his wife and child were allowed to leave Yemen, although Mobley, who was still in custody, did not know it when he allegedly killed a Yemeni prison guard in a bid to escape. Charged with murder, but not with any terror-related crimes, Mobley may get his chance to prove U.S. complicity in his arrest, since the judge in his case recently ruled that the government must, at a minimum, explain what sorts of documents it has on Mobley, even if national security prevents their release.
Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye has been in prison since August 2010, arrested and then convicted of various terrorism-related charges, all based on his work as a journalist. In fact, Shaye’s only “crime” was reporting that a series of missile strikes on December 17, 2009, against an alleged al-Qaeda training camp in the village of al-Majala, Yemen, had actually been carried out by the U.S. and had killed fourteen women and twenty-one children. Shaye was later vindicated by a U.S. diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, showing that Yemeni President Saleh assured Gen. David Petraeus that his government would continue to lie and say “the bombs are ours, not yours.” Yet in February 2011, President Obama persuaded President Saleh, who has since been forced from power, not to pardon Shaye, as Saleh had intended to do, and Shaye remains in prison today.
To Learn More:
Why Is President Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison in Yemen? (by Jeremy Scahill, The Nation)
Feds Must Give Info to U.S. Inmate in Yemen (by Ryan Abbott, Courthouse News Service)
The post-9/11 life of an American charged with murder (by Peter Finn, Washington Post)
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