Yemen releases southern opposition leader

Last Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 15:54

Sanaa: Yemen`s main southern opposition
leader, Hassan Baoum, was released from jail along with his
son just hours after the formation of a transitional unity
government, a family member said in Sanaa.

Baoum and his son Fawaz were arrested on February 20 in
Yemen`s southern port city Aden, where they had planned to
join an anti-government protest. They were freed late
yesterday.

"My father and brother Fawaz were both released in
Sanaa," said Fadi Baoum, another son of the southern
opposition leader.

Baoum heads the supreme council of the Southern Movement
whose members call for either independence or increased
autonomy from north Yemen.

He has been arrested on several occasions by the central
government.

Baoum`s release came just hours after Prime
Minister-designate Mohammed Basindawa, a southerner himself,
announced the formation of a transitional unity government
that will lead Yemen until February, when Vice President
Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi is formerly elected to the presidency.

Hadi, another southerner, was given temporary
presidential powers and asked to form a unity government after
President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a Gulf-sponsored
initiative aimed at ensuring a smooth transition of power in
Yemen after months of mass anti-government protests.

In return for stepping down, Saleh and his family were
granted immunity from prosecution for alleged crimes committed
against Yemenis in the protests that began in January
demanding his ouster.

Hundreds have been killed and thousands more wounded in
the capital and other Yemeni cities in a brutal government
crackdown on demonstrations.

The Gulf Cooperation Council initiative also calls on the
new Yemeni leadership to ensure a peaceful and just resolution
of the southern issue.

Residents in the formerly independent southern region
complain of discrimination by the Sanaa government in the
distribution of resources since the union between north and
south in 1990.

The south broke away again in 1994, sparking a brief
civil war that ended with the region overrun by northern
troops.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 15:54

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