Monday, January 23, 2012

'US, safe haven for world dictators'

Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Salehi (shown) left Yemen to travel to the US on January 22, 2012, amid a growing popular uprising in the Middle Eastern country.

Source: Press TV

An American political activist has lashed out at Washington for accepting Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, saying the US has long been a safe haven for authoritarian rulers across the world, Press TV reports.

“I think it is wrong for the US government to accept Saleh coming from Yemen, as the people of Yemen should be the ones to determine his future,” Medea Benjamin, co-founder of both CODEPINK and the international human rights organization Global Exchange, told Press TV on Sunday.

“The US unfortunately has a history of taking in dictators from other countries, which goes against the principles that people who commit crime should be held in judgment through legal processes by the constituency of their own country and this should be the case for Yemen,” she added.

“The US has been supporting Saleh dictatorship both with weapons and with other logistical kinds of support," the activist pointed out.

Benjamin also criticized the US officials for attaching more importance to their so-called war on terror than the democratic rights of the Yemeni people.

Saleh left Yemen's capital, Sana'a, on Sunday and will visit Oman en route to the US.

In a televised farewell speech on Sunday, Saleh said, “I will go to the United States for treatment and will then return as the head of the General People's Congress party,” Yemeni state media reported.

On Saturday, Yemen's parliament approved a law that grants complete immunity from prosecution to Saleh for the crimes committed during his 33-year-long rule.

Yemeni anti-regime protesters reject the immunity law and say that Saleh and his aides must face prosecution for the killing of hundreds of demonstrators during the popular uprising that began in January 2011.

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