Written By: Nasser Arrabyee
Article Date: Jan 19, 2011 - 10:40:20 AM
A Yemeni journalist was sentenced on Tuesday to five years in prison for his links with the Yemen-based al-Qaeda. The journalist Abdul Elah Haidar Shaea was sentenced to five years and his colleague Abdul Kareem al-Shami was sentenced to two years in prison. The two men were convicted of forming an armed gang to work with the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The journalist Shaea refused to appeal, and he had previously refused to recognize the court and refused to allow any lawyers to defend him.
“I’m not before a court now to appeal, I’m only in front of a gang who kidnapped me,” Shaea told the judge, Redhwan al-Namer, after he read the verdict in the State Security Court in Sana’a.
Earlier the prosecutor accused Shaea of using journalism as a cover to form an armed gang for implementing terrorist acts in Yemen. He was also accused of recruiting people from outside of Yemen to work with Al Qaeda and providing them with information about the security places and urging them to implement operations.
During all the trials sessions, Shaea refused to say anything to the judge except one single demand.
“ I want judge first to order the arrest of those who kidnapped me and held me hostage for 35 days,” Shaea said every time the judge asked him for a comment.
The journalist Shaea appeared in good health with high morale as he was waved to tens of journalists, friends, and relatives, who attended his sentencing on Tuesday January 18th. While smiling to the photographer and joking with friends from behind bars, Shaea was not wearing prison clothes but was instead wearing his usual smart clothes with his beautifully combed hair. Shaea tried to look confident, while his friend Abdul Kareem al-Shami, who was accused mainly of helping Shaea in sending and decoding emails, was visibly nervous.
During the first hearing last October, the prosecutor said that Abdul Elah Haidar Shaea, 34, and Abdul Kareem Dawod al-Shami, 28 had, during the period from 2008 until August 2010, formed an illegal armed gang and worked for al-Qaeda.
The first accused, Shaea, recruited a number of mercenaries from outside Yemen and helped them to join al-Qaeda.
The prosecutor also said that Shaea had collected information about the security headquarters and foreign embassies, and provided this information to al-Qaeda with the aim of helping al-Qaeda to target them.
Shaea also, the prosecutor said, published untrue news stories and statements in the media, with the aim of promoting al-Qaeda and furthering their goals of damaging the security and stability of the nation and its public interests.
The prosecutor said that Shaea was working as a media advisor for Yemeni-American extremist cleric Anwar al Awlaki, and that he had meetings with leaders of al-Qaeda including Nasser al-Wahaishy, Saeed al-Shihri, Qasem al-Raimi, in which he urged them to strike strategic goals and Yemeni and foreign interests.
Shaea was arrested on August 16th, 2010 from his house in Sana’a by the Yemeni intelligence forces. Without any kind of access to his family or lawyers, he was kept in the intelligence prisons until he was referred to the prosecution on September 22nd, 2010, when the court agreed to a request from the prosecution for keeping him in prison 30 additional days so that they could complete investigations.
The journalist Shaea became famous after he gave an exclusive interview with the top leaders of al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Nasser al-Wahaishy and Abu Baseer, on January 2009. And in November of the same year, he conducted an interview with Yemeni-American extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is now wanted by the CIA dead or alive.
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