Yemeni Journalist Jailed for Exposing U.S. Killing of Civilians Finally Released from Prison

Friday, July 26, 2013
Abdulelah Haider Shaye released from prison

Journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye is finally free (sort of) after spending three years in a Yemen prison—a sentence prolonged at the request of President Barack Obama.


Shaye was arrested in 2010, following his story about an attack on a suspected al-Qaeda training camp in southern Yemen. His article claimed that the airstrike—which killed 21 children and 14 women—was carried out by the United States, not by the Yemeni government, which officials first said.


Yemeni authorities charged Shaye with being an al-Qaeda operative, based on the fact that he had developed contacts with extremist groups during his reporting for news media outlets, including ABC News and The New York Times.


Tribal leaders, human-rights activists and journalists publicly objected to Shaye’s jailing. Originally sentenced to five years in prison, Shaye was pardoned in 2011 by then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh.


But Shaye remained imprisoned after Obama reportedly “expressed his concern over the release” of the reporter during a February 2011 phone call with Saleh. The pardon was revoked.


In May, Yemen’s new president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, reversed the decision, issuing an order to release Shaye.


Although no longer behind bars, Shaye is required to stay in the country’s capital, Sana’a, for two years, according to the terms of his release.


Although President Obama himself has not commented on Shaye’s release, Bernadette Meehan, on behalf of the National Security Council, said, “We are concerned and disappointed.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Jailed Journalist: “Only Obama Can Compete with Yemen’s Dictators in Jailing Journalists and Killing Civilians” (by Kevin Gosztola, The Dissenter)

Yemeni Journalist who Reported US Missile Strike is Released from Jail (by Tom McCarthy, The Guardian)

Obama Administration Deeply Involved in Criminal Cases in Yemen (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Why Is President Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison in Yemen? (by Jeremy Scahill, The Nation)


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