IMMUNITY CONTROVERSY RESURFACES IN YEMEN

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On the backdrop of renewed political tensions at the NDC (National Dialogue Conference) activists organized a march through the Yemeni capital to protest former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s immunity blanket.

Back in 2012 when Gulf countries and Yemeni officials were discussing the terms of a possible power transfer deal , then-President Saleh insisted that himself, his aides and family members be granted total immunity from future prosecution. 

Subsequently to his resignation from the presidency and the establishment of the coalition government the Yemeni parliament passed the immunity bill, protecting former

President Saleh and his former regime from any judicial retribution.

Although the international community and Yemeni officials were keen to defend the move as a necessary evil, given the fact that the country had avoided a full-blown civil war in exchange for a judicial free-pass, political and rights activists argued that such immunity was by definition illegal.

Following months of relative calm, activists have returned to the streets to demand a parliamentary retraction. Essentially they want to see former President Saleh stand trial for allegations related to the death of civilians back in 2011, at the height of the popular uprising.

It is important to note that the former regime has always denied allegations of wrongful arrests and abuse, having said the authorities had acted within the boundaries of the law.

The demonstration aimed to commemorate the death in dozens of demonstrators killed on September 19th, 2011 by the Security Forces.
Walking through the capital , protesters were heard chanting, “No immunity. No guarantee. Saleh and his aides should be put on trial.

Source: Yemen Post, Sept. 19, 2013, http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=7224&MainCat=3

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