Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye was reportedly released from prison, according to reporter and author Jeremy Scahill, who tweeted on Tuesday:
Scahill's tweet is politically charged, but it reflects the views of many Yemenis and free press advocates who believed the journalist remained in prison because of pressure from President Barack Obama.
The US leader openly "expressed concern" to Yemen about the reporter's possible release back in February 2011.
"Actually, the only person responsible for kidnapping and detaining me is Obama," Shaye wrote in a letter that was published by The Yemen Times in May.
Shaye came to the attention of Washington when he revealed that a supposed attack on Islamist insurgents by Yemeni forces in 2009 was in fact a US drone strike that killed 41 civilians, 35 of them women and children. Amnesty International backed his claim.
Fourteen alleged militants were also reportedly killed in the attack.
According to Scahill, author of "Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield," Shaye visited the scene of the attack and “photographed the missile parts, some of them bearing the label ‘Made in the USA,’ and distributed the photos to international media outlets." This included evidence of Tomahawks and cluster bombs — arms the Yemenis are not known to possess, according to Salon.
Shaye's access to Al Qaeda figures also allowed him to pursue critical reporting on other high-security developments in Yemen, home to a terrorist group the US considers one of the world's most dangerous.
"Despite that important journalism — or, more accurately, because of it — Shaye is now in prison, thanks largely to President Obama himself," Glen Greenwald wrote for Salon in March.
Though Shaye has reportedly been released from prison, Scahill said he was still being kept on a short leash, tweeting:
Even so, the news "will surely come as a relief to human rights organizations," said the Huffington Post, citing a number of prominent organizations that have called for his release.
Scahill discussed the Shaye case with Reason TV last month. Watch it here: