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Yemeni journalist charged with al Qaeda ties

Abdulelah Shaea is a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on Islamist groups.

A Yemeni court on Tuesday accused Abdulelah Shaea, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on Islamist groups, of supporting the local branch of al-Qaeda and handling its media activities.

The chargesheet stated that Shaea "worked as Anwar al-Awlaqi's media adviser and met with leaders from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and urged them to target strategic interests and foreign embassies in Yemen."

Shaea is considered to be close to the jihadist preacher al-Awlaki, whom the US has put on a kill-or-capture list in connection with a failed attack on a US-bound airliner last Christmas Eve.

The court also accused Shaea of "spreading false news and statements via various media outlets in an attempt to promote al-Qaeda."

However, Shaea denied charges against him and asked the court to investigate his "illegal arrest" and "arbitrary detention".

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday condemned "the preposterous charges" brought against Shaea and called for his immediate release.