Protestors increase demands for release of journalist Shaye

Published on 6 December 2012 in News
Samar Qaed (author)

Samar Qaed


SANA’A, Dec. 4 – Several activists and journalists staged a protest  on Tuesday near the Cabinet building, demanding the release journalist Abdulelah Shaye, who has been in prison for 32 months.

Shaye gained attention in 2009 after suggesting the Al-Majalah village bombing in December 2009, which led to the deaths of women and children, was a U.S. action. He frequently reported on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and in August 2010, Shaye was arrested on suspicion of terrorism. Then President, Ali Abdullah Saleh was prepared to release Shaye in February 2011, but a personal call from U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly influenced Saleh, and Shaye remains in prison today, serving a five year sentence.

Mohammed Al-Moraisi, a human rights activist, said Cabinet guards prevented them from protesting in front of the cabinet in accordance with Basindawa’s orders.

Women Journalists Without Chains recently issued a statement calling on people to protest in front of the cabinet each Tuesday until Shaye’s release.

Al-Moraisi said Human Rights Minister Horia Mashhour said in a previous meeting that it’s difficult to release Shaye because the U.S. embassy gave orders not to.

“Although the former justice minister gave a written order to release Shaye, the embassy prevented it, according to Mashhour,” he said.

Al-Moraisi said protestors sent three letters: one each to President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, to Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindawa, and to the U.S. embassy, calling for Shaye’s release from prison.

Khaled Haider, Shaye’s brother, called for the urgent release of his brother due to his deteriorating health condition. Shaye went on hunger strike two days ago but was convinced to stop because of his deteriorating condition.

“Shaye is a political prisoner and is suffering a lot,” Haider said. “Unfortunately, he is in a Yemeni prison by American orders. We thought torture and injustice would be lifted up from Yemenis with the coming of a new regime, but justice standards are still dysfunctional.”

Haider called on human rights organizations to continue protesting, saying Hadi is the relevant party who could release Shaye. He said protests must take place in front of Hadi’s house.

The Yemeni journalist syndicate established a committee composed of several journalists in order to escalate protests. The committee’s plans included staging protests in front of the U.S. embassy and Hadi’s house, according to Thuraia Damaj, a member of the committee.

“We are aggrieved because America is violating Yemeni sovereignty in the glare of all people. The former regime did many things to satisfy America, including Shaye’s imprisonment because he exposed the American practices in Yemen,” Haider said.