Sanaa: The Yemeni government has tweaked a
contested bill that would have granted legal immunity to aides
of President Ali Abdullah Saleh implicated in criminal
affairs, a government source said on Saturday.
The new version "grants complete immunity to president
Saleh" but his assistants will only benefit from "political
immunity" and could eventually be held accountable for
criminal or terrorist acts, the same source said.
The amended bill, adopted by the government yesterday
during an extraordinary meeting, also provides for the
ratification of "laws on national reconciliation and
The government is to submit the bill to parliament
The original version, submitted on January 8, would have
granted amnesty against prosecution to Saleh and the aides
"who worked with him in all government, civil and military
departments during the years of his rule."
In November, Saleh signed a Gulf-brokered deal to end the
political crisis in the impoverished country, under which he
handed authority to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and
the opposition formed a national unity government.
Saleh serves now as an honorary president until polls are
held in February to elect Mansur, the sole candidate, as his
interim successor for two years.
A bloody crackdown on anti-Saleh demonstrations since
January 2011 has claimed hundreds of lives.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said
earlier this month that anyone who had committed abuses during
the mass protests in Yemen must not be allowed to evade
The UN commissioner urged decision-makers in Yemen to
respect the prohibition in international law against amnesties
for gross human rights violations.
A senior official in Saleh`s General People`s Congress
(GPC) party, Sultan al-Barakani, said on Wednesday that
February`s vote would be held on time, amid rumours of a
Meanwhile, Parliament was scheduled to vote on the amended
bill, and on Mansur`s presidential candidacy, on Monday, he
Separately, Saleh could travel abroad for medical
treatment in the near future for injuries suffered in a bomb
attack in Sanaa last June, another party source said today, speaking on condition of anonymity.