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No one should go to prison for journalism.




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On December 17, 2009, U.S. Tomahawk missiles and incendiary cluster bombs rained down on the tiny Yemeni village of al Majala, killing 21 children, 14 women, and 6 men, and burning all the homes and their contents. The government of Yemen falsely claimed responsibility.  Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye disproved that claim.[1]

Shaye reported on the carnage, including photographing missile parts labeled "Made in the United States."  He reported on subsequent U.S. strikes in Yemen, working with the Washington Post, ABC News, Al Jazeera, and other outlets.[2]

Shaye is in prison in Yemen for the "crime" of journalism at the insistence of President Obama.[3] Click here to join us in telling both Obama and the government of Yemen to free Shaye.

While the U.S. government was searching for U.S. citizen Anwar Awlaki to kill him, Shaye repeatedly tracked him down and interviewed him.  These were tough and serious interviews, with Shaye asking Awlaki how he could possibly support acts of violence.  Awlaki's image was not helped.[4]

But the U.S. government began warning media outlets not to work with Shaye, falsely accusing him of supporting al Qaeda.  The Yemeni government kidnapped Shaye, threatened and released him, then snatched him again and gave him a one-sided "trial," universally denounced as a sham by human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.[5]

On February 2, 2011, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, under public pressure, had drawn up, printed out, and was prepared to sign a pardon of Shaye.  But Saleh received a phone call from President Barack Obama, who opposed release of the journalist.  Saleh ripped up the pardon.[6]

Americans will learn Shaye's story in the film version of Dirty Wars, which opens in U.S. theaters on June 7.  Let's seize this moment to tell President Obama and the Yemeni government that a journalist should not be locked up for doing his job.

This is unacceptable.  Please sign the petition, also supported by Demand Progress, and which our friends at CodePink will assist in delivering to both the White House and the government in Yemen.

Please forward this email widely to like-minded friends all over the world.

-- The RootsAction.org team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.

Footnotes:
1. Dirty Wars, the Film
2. Dirty Wars, the Book
3. Jeremy Scahill: Why Is Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison?
4. Dirty Wars, the Book
5. Dirty Wars, the Book
6. Iona Craig: Will Obama keep Yemeni Journalist in Jail?

Online Partner:

Delivering Petition to White House and Yemen:

www.RootsAction.org

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