Arab Spring hangs its fourth scalp, that of Ali Abdullah Saleh. After 32 years of corruption, Yemeni strongman is headed for Saudi Arabia and then to the US. Last week he managed to get Yemeni parliament’s immunity from any prosecution for his misrule. He will stay in Saudi Arabia, perhaps as a neighbor of another Arab Spring victim Ben Ali, until he finds another Saudi jet to take him for “medical treatment” in the US. Saleh’s son is already in Oman to receive his corrupt father.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Yemenis staged protests against a law granting immunity for Saleh, from prosecution over a deadly crackdown on dissent.
“It is our duty… to execute the butcher,” chanted the protesters gathered in the Yemeni capital’s Change Square, the centre of the democracy movement that has been calling for Saleh’s removal since January last year.
UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, has criticised the immunity law, arguing that it neglects the rights of “victims”. He said the UN could not condone a broad amnesty that covers crimes against humanity, war crimes or gross violations of human rights.