Justice Minister calls on Hadi to release jailed journalist
Shaye gained attention as a journalist in 2009 after his reports suggested that the Al-Majalah village bombing in December 2009, which led to the deaths of numerous women and children, was launched by the United States and not by Yemen. He frequently reported on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In August 2010, Shaye was arrested on terrorism charges. After much pressure, then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh was set to release Shaye in February 2011, but a personal call from U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly influenced Saleh, and Shaye remains in prison.
To date, Shaye has spent 31 months in prison.
Lawyer Abdulrahman Barman said the justice minister sent a memorandum to Hadi requesting him to forgive Shaye for the remaining sentence time.
Barman confirmed to Yemen Times that the memorandum is based on Article 539 of the Penal Procedures Law, which enables the president to grant amnesty for prisoners who have served a portion of their punishment and to terminate the punishment or reduce it.
The International Journalists’ Union and the Journalists’ Syndicate have staged several protests, most recently in mid-October, in front of the Ministry of Justice demanding Shaye’s release, according to Barman. He said the syndicate’s members met with the minister of justice and called on him to talk with Hadi and influence him to release Shaye.
For his part, Kamal Sharaf, a caricaturist and a close friend of Shaye, said Shaye’s release isn’t in the hands of Yemen’s government but depends on the U.S. government and the U.S. Ambassador, Gerald Feierstein. He said the new Yemeni government must adopt an independent attitude away from U.S. interference.