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February 23, 2013

Yemeni Government Urged to Investigate Rights Violations

by VOA News

A rights group is urging Yemen's transitional government to crack down on human rights violations that have allegedly taken place since the country's uprising in 2011.

Human Rights Watch said on Saturday Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has not fulfilled a pledge to form a committee to investigate human rights crimes.

The group also urged Yemeni authorities to investigate the deaths of at least four protesters who were killed in clashes with security forces in the city of Aden a few days ago.

Human Rights Watch official Joe Stork said "entrenched interests" on all sides have stymied efforts to punish those responsible for rights violations in Yemen.

In other news, an Austrian man kidnapped in Yemen late last year has appeared in a YouTube video, saying he will be killed if his captors' demands are not met.

A man identifying himself as Dominik Neubauer appealed to the Yemeni and Austrian government, and to the European Union, to give his kidnappers what they want.  A gun was aimed at his head as he spoke.

Austrian officials say they believe the video is authentic.

Neubauer was kidnapped in December along with a Finnish couple in Yemen's capital, Sana'a.  Yemeni officials have said the three are being held by al-Qaida fighters.

It is not clear what the captors are demanding.

In 2011, widespread protests in Yemen against the rule of then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh left hundreds dead.

In a U.S. and Gulf-backed power transfer deal, Saleh agreed to step down in return for immunity from prosecution.  He was succeeded by President Hadi one year ago.