A Sanaa court on Tuesday sentenced a Yemeni journalist close to radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi to five years in prison for promoting the cause of al-Qaeda.
A Sanaa court specializing in terrorism cases accused Abdulelah Shaea, 34, of "working in the media for the benefit of al-Qaeda, taking pictures of security buildings, embassies, and foreign interests in Sanaa, and inciting al-Qaeda to attack them," AFP quoted the court saying.
The same court on Monday handed a 10-year jail sentence in absentia to Awlaqi, whose whereabouts are unknown, for taking part in an armed group and incitement to kill foreigners.
The court, which in an earlier hearing accused Shaea of working as Awlaqi's media adviser, on Tuesday charged him with receiving "elements from outside the country and advising them to join al-Qaeda."
After serving five years in prison, Shaea, employed by official news agency Saba and jailed since August 16, will be placed for two years under house arrest. He refused to appeal.
The journalist said in July that security agents had kidnapped and beaten him.
Shaea is considered to be one of Yemen's most knowledgeable journalists on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) -- Al-Qaeda's local affiliate -- and is known for his close ties to Awlaqi, the jihadist preacher said by Washington to have been linked with a failed 2009 attack on a U.S.-bound airliner.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in October condemned "the preposterous charges brought against" Shaea and called for his immediate release.
In May, the group named Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh among the world's worst "predators of the press."