Published On: Thu, Jul 25th, 2013

Amnesty slams US for ‘blatant attempt’ to influence journalist case in Yemen

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Abdulelah Shaye (Image from albaldnews.com)

Amnesty International has condemned the White House for its role in detention of a Yemeni journalist who exposed US involvement in a deadly 2009 cluster bombing.
The human rights group is urging the Yemeni authorities to investigate allegations that Abdulelah Shaye, a journalist recently released from jail, could have been put behind bars arbitrarily. The actual reason for his detention is arguably his reports revealing that a 2009 missile attack in Yemen’s Abyan area which killed 41 local residents – including 21 children – was carried out by the US and not by Yemen, as officially presented.

Shaye was arrested in August 2010 on charges of helping Al-Qaeda and militant US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and was found guilty six months later and convicted to five years in jail. The journalist has always denied charges of his cooperating with the terrorist group, insisting he only did interviews with some of its members as part of his professional activity.

“Abdulelah Shaye appeared to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for his legitimate work as a journalist,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa program director at Amnesty International.

Shaye was pardoned by the Yemeni president on Tuesday after three years in prison. The decision, hailed by human rights groups, was however disapproved of by the White House.

“We are concerned and disappointed by his early release,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki is cited by AP.

It’s Shaye’s second presidential pardon. The first one came within weeks of his conviction and was granted by former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was subsequently convinced to reverse his decision by a phone call from Barack Obama.

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Source: Russia Today

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