x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

'Hundreds of thousands' of Yemeni protesters demand Saleh's prosecution

The parliament is required to vote on the immunity law next week, according to the Gulf-brokered power transition plan Mr Saleh signed on November 23.

SANAA // Yemenis protested across the country on Friday, demanding that parliament reject the immunity granted to the outgoing president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and his associates.

The parliament next week is expected to vote on a law granting Mr Saleh and his aides immunity from prosecution for any crimes they may have committed during his 33-year rule.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered at Freedom Square in Taiz where they performed prayers on a Friday that was dubbed "Prosecution is our demand", activists said.

"The people want to prosecute the mass killer…..no guarantees to the killers," the protesters chanted.

"Our demand is the prosecution of the criminals and killers," Imam Waheeb Al Sharabi said during his sermon.

"We pledge that we will not leave the squares till justice is made and the families of the victims feel happy. We will not betray the martyrs."

The parliament is required to vote on the immunity law next week, according to the Gulf-brokered power transition plan Mr Saleh signed on November 23.

The agreement requires Mr Saleh to hand over power to his deputy in return for immunity for himself and his inner circle.

In Sanaa, tens of thousands gathered at Al Siteen Street where they vowed to stand by the families of the victims of the regime's crackdown. About 1,132 people were killed and 22,321 were wounded by forces loyal to Mr Saleh during the 11-month uprising, according to a tally by the protest organisers.

"Any political agreement is accepted unless it violates Islamic law, the constitution, and international conventions," said Imam Abdullah.

"Nobody can forgive the killers except the families and relatives of the victims. It is our duty to stand by the right of the relatives of the martyrs to prosecute the killers and bring them to justice," he said.

malqadhi@thenational.ae