News / Middle East

Yemen Lawmakers Approve Immunity for President Saleh

Members of Yemen's Parliament raise their hands to vote in favor of a law granting immunity to outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the killing of protesters, in Sana'a, January 21, 2012.
Members of Yemen's Parliament raise their hands to vote in favor of a law granting immunity to outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the killing of protesters, in Sana'a, January 21, 2012.

Yemen's parliament has formally approved a law giving President Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from prosecution that paves the way for him to step dwon after more than three decades in power.

The law, made possible through a deal brokered by neighboring Gulf nations, grants Saleh complete immunity from legal and judicial prosecution for any alleged crimes committed during his 33-year rule. The deal, signed by Saleh in November, was aimed at ending months of political turmoil in the country.

The new law also grants a controversial partial immunity to the president's political aides, although last-minute amendments reduced the scope of that amnesty.

Yemeni parliamentarians welcomed the law's passage saying it follows the plan brought forward by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Parliamentarian Aly Abou Khalifa said the new law will help put the country on the road to recovery.

"This law is an opportunity for national reconciliation and so that the youth can carry out their protests in a safer environment."

The immunity deal has sparked an outcry by pro-democracy activists who have driven the nearly year-long revolution. They are calling for the president to stand trial for a violent crackdown on anti-government protests in which hundreds of people died.

Yemeni activist Abdo Al Rashidy wants to reverse the legislation.

"We have to work to bring down this law. I will go to the highest court in order to reject this law which is full of mistakes."

Human Rights Watch criticized passage of the law. It said in a statement the law "sends the disgraceful message that there is no consequence for killing those who express dissent."

Yemeni officials said on Saturday that Saleh is expected to travel to Oman, before going to the United States for medical care.  

Earlier this month, a Yemeni official said Saleh had scrapped plans to receive medical treatment in the United States for injuries sustained in a bomb attack on his presidential compound in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, last June. The United States says is it considering giving the Yemeni president a visa for the trip.

Under the GCC deal, Saleh has handed authority to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Hadi is the consensus candidate of major parties in a presidential election scheduled for February.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs