Abdulelah Haider Shaye, Yemen's unwilling political victim of America's war against terror has now become the epitome of political manipulation, foreign interferences and injustice. When Shaye began his career as Yemen government's very own special reporter on al-Qaeda, little did he suspect that his success in keeping the communication gates open with Islamic extremists while maintaining his journalistic integrity would cost him his freedom.
His rise to fame came in 2009 when he uncovered former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's biggest military cover-up operation in Majala, a village situated in the restive southern province of Abyan.
While former President alleged that the bombing of Majalla had been conducted by the Yemeni army as part of the government's anti-terror campaign, Shaye brought forth compelling evidences proving that in fact it was Washington which had targeted the village, using cluster bombs (a weapon containing multiple explosive submunitions). Known now as the Majala massacre, hundreds of innocent civilians died on the attack, their bodies torn to shred by the bombs.
Determined to show the world what America's covert war on terror was translating into on the ground, Shaye handed his findings, photographs and testimonies to countless international outlet, shining light on the gruesome realities of Washington's counter-terror methods on foreign grounds.
Among the wreckage of Majala, 14 women and 21 children were found.
Seven months later, Shaye was abducted by Yemeni intelligence agents, who warned him to stop speaking about the strike. Undeterred he did exactly the opposite taking his fight for the truce to al-Jazeera.
A month after that Shaye was arrested and thrown in prison on terror charges.
“There’s strong indications that the charges against Shaye are trumped up, and that he has been jailed for daring to speak up about U.S. collaboration in a cluster munitions attack which took place in Yemen,” wrote Amnesty International in a 2011 statement.
Jeremy Scahill, a member of the Committee to Protect Journalism and an authority when it comes to Yemen told Democracy Now in March 2012, "Haider worked with ABC News.The Washington Post paid his expenses for him to go and do an interview with Awlaki. He was identified by the New York Times as an al-Qaeda expert. And all of a sudden then, you find him becoming the target of the Saleh regime."
Shaye's arrest prompted the journalist community both in Yemen and abroad to cry out in indignation; Free Shaye movement was born.
When in 2011 former President Ali Abdullah Saleh signaled he was ready to pardon Shaye for his political indiscretion by granting him his freedom, American President Barack Obama intervened, warning that the journalist was still considered a "source of concern."
Sentenced to a five-year imprisonment, Abdulelah Haider Shaye for allegedly supporting al Qaida’s Yemen-based affiliate, the journalist is fighting on, challenging from hs jail cell the Obama administration.
"It’s inaccurate to say the Americans imprisoned me because some of them defended and supported me and opposed my detention. Actually, the only person responsible for kidnapping and detaining me is Obama. So, I don’t want the media to say America or Americans have incarcerated me because it’s obvious [who is responsible].
I’m eagerly longing to see my mother and family. Still, I have not forgotten my loyal colleagues and friends. Everything you do for my sake makes my solitary confinement tolerable. In spite of my loneliness, I feel that you live with me.
Your support and defense [give me] comfort during my solitude. I’m proud and will never forget your noble and honorable support for as long as I live."
Under much public pressure Yemen President Abdo Rabbo MAnsour Hadi promised in May that he would review Shaye's file and arrange for his early release, strong of the belief his case had been mis-handled and his alleged links with al-Qaeda taken out of context.
To which Washington retaliated, “We remain concerned about Shayes potential early release due to his association with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” Bernadette Meehan, a National Security Council spokeswoman wrote in an email.
It is important to note that while Washington continue to advertise Shaye's guilt, no evidence was ever brought forward in a court of law, merely unsubstantiated accusations and allegations.