On March 13, The Nation‘s National Security correspondent Jeremy Scahill posted a piece titled "Why Is President Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison in Yemen?" Scahill detailed how investigative reporter Abdulelah Haider Shaye‘s courageous reporting had exposed the lies of Yemen’s corrupt government, a US ally in the battle against Islamic terrorism — arousing the ire of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the suspicions of the Obama administration.

After Shaye revealed how a US counterterrorism strike on the village of al Majala in December 2009 had gone awry, killing fourteen women and twenty-one children, he was arrested, imprisoned and quickly released with a warning to stop talking about the incident. A month later he was arrested again, subjected to brutal conditions and then tried and sentenced in proceedings called “a complete farce” by a Western reporter who observed the trial and was interviewed by Scahill. After much protest from Yemenis outraged by his treatment, President Saleh was set to pardon Shaye — until President Obama called in February 2011 to express concern about Shaye’s release because of his alleged “association” with Al Qaeda. No one has provided credible evidence for this charge. Saleh withheld the pardon, and Shaye remains in prison.


Multiple human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, have decried Shaye’s imprisonment and called for his immediate release. Add your name to this petition imploring President Obama to un-do the damage he’s caused and insist that Shaye be freed. After making your voice heard, share this info with friends, family, Facebook friends and Twitter followers.


In a post elaborating on Scahill’s original reporting, Salon‘s Glenn Greenwald makes clear why the Obama White House sees Shaye as such a threat.


This report from Democracy Now! features Mohamed Abdel Dayem of the Committee to Protect Journalists and The Nation‘s Scahil detailing the complicated story of Shaye’s imprisonment and making the case that everyone concerned with freedom of the press should be alarmed by Shaye’s continued detention.

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