Yemen pardons journalist jailed for al-Qaida ties

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By AHMED AL-HAJ, Associated Press

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's president has pardoned a journalist who was jailed for three years on charges of helping al-Qaida and U.S. born militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

The case of the reporter, Abdelela Shayie, got international attention after President Barack Obama put pressure on Yemen's former president in 2011 to keep him detained.

Shayie, who had published interviews with top al-Qaida figures in Yemen, had denied the charges against him. He was detained in 2010.

Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Tuesday ordered the pardon, a move welcomed by the journalists union.

The union chief, Marwan Damag, told The Associated Press that Shayie was being held for "political reasons" and that his release was a step in "support of freedom of expression."

Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.

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