[JURIST] The Yemeni Parliament [official website, in Arabic] on Monday voted against a bill which would have amended the country's electoral laws by restricting government officials from influencing the ballot. The bill would also have required electors to register in either their place of birth or residence rather than their place of work. Yemen's ruling General People's Congress (GPC) [party website] voted against the bill, while members of the main opposition party, Yemen Socialist Party (YSP) [Nationmaster backgrounder], boycotted Monday's vote as they pushed President Ali Abdullah Saleh [official website, in English] to release fellow party members detained since clashes with police in April. Eight senior YSP officials are currently being tried on charges of incitement and secession. AFP has more.
In April, demonstrations by students and southern Yemenis [AFP report] against alleged northern bias in government jobs turned violent as at least one man killed was killed in confrontations with police. Several YSP members were taken into custody, accused of inciting deadly unrest. YSP lawmakers have called for Saleh to order the release of all "political prisoners." In June, Yemen sentenced [JURIST report] 14 accused Zayidi Shi'ite [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] rebels, among them outspoken Yemeni journalist Abdel Karim al-Khaywani [advocacy profile], for their roles in an ongoing Shi'ite uprising. All but one of the rebels received prison sentences of up to ten years, with the last rebel receiving the death sentence for plotting attacks on Yemeni military bases. Yemeni authorities accuse Zayidi Shi'ite of trying to impose Shi'ite Islamic law [BBC backgrounder] on the country, but group members say they are only defending their community from a hostile government.