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Yemen: Saleh Gets Away With Murder…He Gets Immunity

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

The Yemeni Cabinet endorsed on December 8, 2011, a draft law which grants legal immunity to outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh based on the GCC agreement, despite nationwide protests demanding Saleh's trial for the killing of protesters. The immunity clause granting him, his aides and family immunity, was the condition which Saleh made in order to sign the GCC initiative.

The newly formed unity government cabinet approved the bill, which will now be passed to parliament for approval in order for it to be a law. Netizens have reacted online:

@Yemen411 tweeted:

#GCCDeal proposed immunity law was approved today by the #Yemen #YUG cabinet. #Yemeni parliament will vote on the law most likely this week

@YemenUpdates added:

Four ministers- two females – refused to vote the immunity law for #Saleh approved by the cabinet today in #Sanaa. #Yemen

One of the female ministers who refused to vote was Minster of Human Rights, Hooria Mashhoor, who tweeted:

@Hooria_Mashhoor: I am not involved in any immunity for those who violated human rights # Yemen

The streets of Yemen have been boiling with marches for the past 11 months, demanding that Saleh face trial for his role in the killing of hundreds of Yemenis since the revolution started in February 2011.

@SummerNasser tweeted a video of one of those marches, just a day earlier in Taiz posted on YouTube by FreeDomTaiz:

Female march in #Taiz to denounce immunity for Saleh, granted by the the GCC deal. youtube.com/watch?v=8fRdrx… #Yemen #yf

@Dilmunite asked:

Ok, let me get this right… “Yemeni government grants immunity to #Saleh”. What government exactly is that? #Yemen

And @Yemen4Change pointed out that the government was executing part of the deal:

@Dilmunite under the GCC deal, #Saleh has immunity from prosecution, so the unity gov is just restating what's in the #GCC deal #Yemen

@LibyanDictator sarcastically noted:

Wtf?? Immunity for Saleh AAANND everyone who worked with him during his reign? Well done Saudi.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday urged decision-makers in Yemen to respect the prohibition in international law against amnesties for gross human rights violations.

@RealistChannel wrote:

Navi Pillay should address the #UNSC about #Saleh’s immunity, not #Yemen’s “unity” gov. ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pa…

Pillay's statement was as follows:

I have been closely following the events in Yemen, particularly the very contentious debate about an amnesty law to be presented to Parliament shortly,” the High Commissioner said. “International law and the UN policy are clear on the matter: amnesties are not permissible if they prevent the prosecution of individuals who may be criminally responsible for international crimes including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and gross violations of human rights.
[...]
“Victims have the right to justice, to the truth, to remedy and reparation – these are rights that are well-established internationally,” she said. “Any adopted legislation would also need to respect the principle of equality before the law – meaning that there should be no discrimination between individuals who are pro-Government or in opposition and no distinction based on family connections. Every individual who commits a crime is accountable and should not be allowed to escape justice.

@crazyyafi tweeted what Saleh obviously was trying to get away with:

If you asking for immunity over & over, that means you're a criminal who wants to get away with his crimes. #Saleh #Yemen

Coincidentally an emotional video was recently released by SupportYemen as a silent remembrance of the hundreds of lives lost in Yemen's peaceful uprising against Saleh's regime:

It is those martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the rest of Yemen to live a life of freedom and democracy, whom Yemenis feel they must never be forgotten nor should their blood go in vain.

@AfrahNasser tweeted her disappointment:

Imagine! you met one of the martyrs from #Yemen's uprising, how could you explain to him the immunity for #Saleh ?! #NoImmunityToSaleh

Hundreds of Yemenis rallied in the streets across Yemen against the immunity that was approved by the cabinet.

However @Alruwaishan tweeted what he thought would be the solution for Yemen:

Doesn't look like immunity will help with #Saleh situation though. Clear only his death will solve that dilemma for #Yemen.

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

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