x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Freed Tawakul Karman 'will continue struggle' against Yemen regime

Female rights activist campaigning against President Ali Abdullah Saleh tells protesters 'We will continue until the removal of this corrupt system that looted the wealth of the Yemenis.'

Tawakul Karman, left,  speaking on Saturday to crowds in Sana'a as she urged Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave the government and follow Tunisia's ousted president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, into exile.
Tawakul Karman, left, speaking on Saturday to crowds in Sana'a as she urged Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave the government and follow Tunisia's ousted president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, into exile.

SANA'A // A Yemeni rights activist promised today to continue her struggle against Yemen's long-serving president, hours after being released after protests in the capital.

Inspired by the recent ousting of Tunisia's long-time ruler, Tawakul Karman, a journalist and member of the Islamist party Islah, had called for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down and led rallies at Sana'a University last week. She was detained yesterday.

"We will continue this struggle and the Jasmine Revolution until the removal of this corrupt system that looted the wealth of the Yemenis," Ms Karman told hundreds of protesters demanding the release of other detainees.

Ms Karman was freed on a guarantee from her family, a security official said.

Abdulrahman Barman, Ms Karman's lawyer and a human rights activist, said in a statement that prosecutors had said they would release other protesters held at the same time as Karman after questioning.

On Sunday, 18 opposition activists were arrested along with Ms Karman and one demonstrator was shot dead by police in the southern port city of Aden.

Mr Saleh's cash-strapped government is not only plagued by rebellions in the north and south, but also by a resurgent al Qa'eda wing. He has ruled Yemen for more than three decades.

The security official said Ms Karman's family had guaranteed that she would not violate Yemeni laws again. Ms Karman is also a member of the activist group Women Journalists Without Chains.

In an apparent move to calm discontent, Mr Saleh announced plans to raise salaries of state employees and the military by $47 to $234 a month, a significant bonus for poorly paid soldiers and civil servants in Yemen, the poorest Arab country.