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Yemen parliament grants immunity to outgoing president Saleh

The Yemeni parliament on Saturday approved a bill [press release, in Arabic] granting immunity to President Ali Abdullah Saleh [official website, in Arabic; JURIST news archive] in exchange for him stepping down. In the same bill, parliament recommended current Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi become the new president. The bill would protect Saleh against prosecution for politically motivated acts but not terrorism. It also gives partial protection to all of his aides. While this bill seeks to create unity in the government, according to a statement by the head of the House of Representatives to parliament during the session, it has sparked new protests [Reuters report].

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] has spoken out against granting immunity [JURIST report] because of concerns that it might be too broad. In April, Saleh agreed to step down [JURIST report] in exchange for immunity. The UN is investigating human rights violations [JURIST report] in Yemen in relation to its handling of pro-democracy protests. Saleh and his party, the General People's Congress (GPC), had caused the political tensions that led to the protests through their attempts to remove presidential term limits [JURIST report] and expand their political power.

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