Yemeni Government Approves Immunity for President

Posted January 8th, 2012 at 3:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Yemen's interim government has agreed to grant immunity to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his administration, clearing the way for his departure in line with a Gulf-brokered agreement.

The government on Sunday approved the law that grants Mr. Saleh immunity from “legal and judicial prosecution” for any alleged crimes committed during his 33-year rule. Yemen's parliament still must approve the deal.

In November, Mr. Saleh signed a Gulf-brokered deal aimed at ending the political crisis in the impoverished country.

Under that deal, he handed authority to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, ahead of a February presidential election in which Hadi is the consensus candidate of major parties.

Pro-democracy activists have continued staging anti-Saleh protests in the capital, Sana'a, and elsewhere, protesting that the transition deal gives the president immunity from prosecution. They want Mr. Saleh and his powerful relatives to stand trial for a government crackdown on protests in which hundreds of people have been killed.