Commend Yemeni President for Release of Wrongfully Imprisoned Journalist

freedom of the press

Target: President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi

Goal: Commend Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi for the release of wrongfully imprisoned journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye.

Abdulelah Haider Shaye was arrested and imprisoned  for “terrorist charges” for three years although he has not posed any credible threat. Shaye had done nothing wrong. He had done what most would consider honest journalism. He had reported on a US cruise missile strike in a village named al Majala that had claimed the lives of 41 people including 14 women and 21 children in 2009. The official story was that the Yemeni government had authorized a strike against a Al  Qaeda training camp. Wikileaks has confirmed Shaye’s report that this incident was a US ordered cover up by the Yemeni government. He was coerced to stop reporting about the strike.

Shaye was then abducted by Yemeni security forces, harshly interrogated, and convicted by a military tribunal that has been condemned by many reputable human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters Without Borders. They unanimously agree his conviction was an unfair show trial based on fabricated evidence. Photos captured by Shaye was damning evidence of US involvement. The photos depicted remnants of produced tomahawk missiles and cluster bombs with the labels “produced in the US.” Cluster bombs are banned by the international community so it is not surprising that the US government would want to silence anyone who may damage their international image. The Obama administration still has not publicly acknowledged any US participation in the bombing of al Majala.

Although the previous Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was prepared to pardon Shaye in 2011 due to popular public outcry, Obama had personally intervened by saying that the US was “concerned” by the decision to prematurely release him. As a result, President Saleh succumbed to US pressure and had to retract his decision. However, the current president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, had recently released Shaye despite US displeasure over this decision. This is a petition to commend President Hadi for doing the right thing by defying the US government.


Dear President Hadi,

Thank you for not submitting to US pressure in continuing the detention of a journalist, whose only guilt is fulfilling his duty.  Freedom of speech and press should be an internationally recognized right. The US, which is supposedly the leader of the free world, should practice what it preaches.

Journalists risk their lives in volatile regions around the world every day to report on important issues in order to keep the world informed. They deserve these minimal protections.  They should not be treated as criminals for exposing the truth.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: ryanjreilly via Flickr

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