Home | News    Tuesday 28 February 2012

Ousted Yemeni president hints at going into exile in Ethiopia

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

February 27, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ousted Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is seeking exile in Ethiopia as tens of thousands of Yemenis on Monday marched in the capital Sannaa demanding the former leader be prosecuted.

After 33 years in power, the outgoing president officially handed power to his deputy Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was sworn in as Yemen’s new president on Saturday.

Under a deal brokered by Gulf States, Saleh is granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for leaving power. However, following Saturday’s farewell ceremony to the ex-president, a large number of Yemenis are insisting that he faces prosecution for crimes he committed while in office.

Yemen, like many other Middle Eastern and North African countries, has seen a string of anti-government protests of the last year, triggered by an uprising in Tunisia.

Thousands of angry protesters took to the streets in the capital Sanaa again on Monday calling for Saleh to be arrested and tried before he leaves the country.

Saleh is expected to leave Yemen and arrive in Ethiopia within two days along with some of his family members, aides to the former president told the Associated Press on Monday.

An unnamed diplomat in Sanaa confirmed that arrangements had been made for Saleh’s departure to Ethiopia. Ethiopian officials were not available for comment on this issue.

The former Yemeni president had been under intense pressure from Western and Arab countries to leave the country as fears grow that his presence in the country could possibly lead to a new wave of violence.

According to the latest report, Salah’s aides further said that undisclosed members of the UN Security Council had threatened to freeze his and his family’s assets if Salah decline to leave country.

Hundreds of anti-government protesters have been killed in crackdowns by security forces and by president’s armed loyalists during a year of political turmoil.

President Saleh escaped an assassination attempt last June when resistance forces launched a rocket attack at his presidential palace. He was badly injured fled to Saudi Arabia where he spent three months to take medical treatment, before returning Yemen.

(ST)

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