Sunday, January 8, 2012

Interim govt throws Saleh immunity

Yemen's outgoing dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Yemen's interim government has endorsed a US-backed draft law granting the country's outgoing dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from prosecution.

The draft, which was approved by the Yemeni cabinet on Sunday, also applies to anyone, who has worked with Saleh, saving them from prosecution for any crimes they have committed during his 33-year-long rule.

According to the government, Saleh and his associates "including in civilian, military and security institutions during the period of his presidency” are thereby awarded 'legal and judicial immunity.'

Yemen's parliament will now have to ratify the draft, which paves the way for Saleh's departure.

The decision is in line with a power transfer deal brokered by the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), which Saleh signed in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 23.

The Saudi-backed deal grants him immunity from prosecution in return for his handing over the power to acting ruler Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The United States, which regarded Saleh as a pillar of its 'counter-terrorism' strategy for years, pushed through with the power transition deal, while Saudi Arabia has been supporting him by donating diesel and crude oil to the country.

The prospect of the immunity law comes as thousands of anti-regime demonstrators, calling their protest action the 'March of Dignity,' arrived from the western port city of Hudaydah to the capital Sana'a on Sunday to demand Saleh's prosecution.

The march, led by members of the north-based Yemeni Shia minority, known as Houthis, was welcomed in Sana'a by other anti-regime protesters, who also called for the trial of the outgoing Yemeni dictator.

Also, in late December 2011, tens of thousands of anti-regime protesters marched towards Sana'a from the southern city of Taizz, about 322 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital.

Yemeni demonstrators hold Saleh responsible for the killing of hundreds of protesters during the popular uprising against the regime that began in January 2011.

Protesters say the country's Republican Guards, led by Saleh's son Ahmed, are responsible for most of the deadly attacks on the anti-regime activists.

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