July 25, 2013
Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye, whom President Barack Obama once personally lobbied to have remain in jail, has been pardoned and released, fulfilling a months-old pledge from Yemen’s president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
It was unclear whether Hadi had told American authorities in advance when Shaye would be released, but the White House said in an email Wednesday that it was “concerned and disappointed” by his release before the expiration of his five-year prison term for associating with al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Shaye’s ability to gain access to high-ranking, deeply reclusive al Qaida-linked figures earned him international attention, allowing him to report for a number of Western news outlets. But he earned the ire of U.S. and Yemeni authorities for his reporting that revealed that a December 2009 bombing in the village of Majalla in the southern province of Abyan was an American cruise-missile attack that killed dozens of civilians, including 14 women and 21 children,rather than a Yemeni airstrike on an al Qaida training camp, as originally claimed.