Monday, January 9, 2012

Saleh granted amnesty despite U.N. warning

Jan. 9, 2012

SANAA, Yemen, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- All members of the administration of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh are shielded from the law, a draft measure submitted by the vice president said.

Saleh endured protests against his government for much of 2011. The president spent much of the summer at a military hospital in Saudi Arabia, however, after surviving an assassination attempt in June.

Late last year, he bowed to international pressure and signed a deal to hand power over to his vice president in exchange for immunity for prosecution.

The government during the weekend approved a draft amnesty law submitted by Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

"The draft law of amnesty gives President Ali Abdullah Saleh and all those who worked with him during his presidency across all civilian, military and security apparatuses an amnesty shielding them from legal or judicial prosecution," the official Saba news agency reports.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, before the government action, said international law does not permit amnesty for those who may be responsible for possible war crimes or genocide. She said her office had information to suggest some leaders in Yemen may have committed serious crimes against the people during demonstrations.

"Every individual who commits a crime is accountable and should not be allowed to escape justice," she said in a statement.

Saleh was said to be considering leaving the country for medical treatment in the United States. He's since backtracked, saying he would stay in the country to serve as a campaign adviser to the vice president.

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