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Qaeda expert says 'kidnapped' by Yemen security agents

world Updated: Jul 12, 2010 23:43 IST

AFP
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A prominent Yemeni journalist and specialist in Al-Qaeda today accused the security services of having "kidnapped" and beaten him up, in a website interview.

Abdulelah Shaea told newsyemen.net that he was questioned for several hours on Sunday night and his laptop seized by men who said they were security agents.

"Eight gunmen kidnapped me from a side street in the centre of the capital Sanaa, tied my hands, covered my eyes and led me to a villa" near the headquarters of Yemen's security services, Shaea is quoted as saying.

"They kept on telling me we're from the security," he said, adding that he was beaten by his abductors who took away his personal belongings. The journalist said he was interrogated for six hours overnight about statements he had made "to several newspapers, TV channels and international news agencies regarding Al-Qaeda network."

Shaea is considered to be one of Yemen's most knowledgeable journalists on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula(AQAP), Al-Qaeda's branch in the country.

He is known for his close ties to radical US-Yemeni imam Anwar al-Awlaqi, who is wanted by Washington in connection with a failed attack on a US airliner on Christmas Eve.

Opposition journalist Mohammed al-Maqaleh was released in March, four months after he was abducted in a similar fashion on a Sanaa street. The Yemeni journalists' union expressed its "deep concern over the kidnapping" of Shaea, in a statement posted on the defence ministry's official website today.

In May, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders(RSF) named Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh to its list of 40 "Predators of Press Freedom."