Yemen: Crisis Deepens After Law Grants Saleh Legal Immunity

Article Summary
On the first anniversary of the Arab Spring revolutions, Lisa Ali discusses the political crisis that has followed Saleh’s departure and the passage of a law granting him immunity from prosecution. She calls upon Yemenis to look to other revolutions for inspiration, and supports postponing Yemen’s presidential elections on security grounds.

A year has passed since the beginning of the Arab Spring revolutions, which saw heroic battles fought to attain modern democratic states. However, the change desired by the Arab people was jeopardized by greedy forces, who wanted to reap the harvest of the revolution for the benefit of domestic factions backed by foreign alliances. Their interests go against those of the Arab citizens, who have become more aware and informed about their rights and the plots in their nations intended to waste [their countries’] wealth and cause much bloodshed.

Yemen is currently experiencing a political crisis. This ongoing crisis can be resolved through the political settlement outlined by the GCC initiative, which stipulates holding presidential elections on February 21. The initiative also handed off security responsibilities to the committee headed by Vice President Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was chosen as the consensus candidate by the General People’s Congress [GPC] and its allies, and the Joint Meeting Parties [JMP] and its supporters. The GCC initiative was a political gain for the opposition, which surprised the revolution by declaring itself a representative of the streets, and [declaring] that change will be attained during its term in power. Until this day, the initiative that was signed on November 23 is still rejected by the Yemeni people. The citizens consider that the initiative, including all of its terms, constitute an injustice to the revolutionaries and those killed [in clashes between protesters and the regime]. The Yemenis were against granting Saleh immunity from prosecution; however, Basinduwah’s government issed a law granting Saleh immunity, which was then passed by parliament.

Then, Foreign Minister [Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi] appeared on television to announce tthe possibility that the presidential elections scheduled to take place in February could be postponed. He stated that the absence of security in the country was the main reason for postponing the elections. Al-Qirbi’s statements were received with great dismay, especially by the opposition, the GPC’s partners in government. However, I believe that Al-Qirbi was not mistaken to consider this possibility, regardless of whether elections are likely to bring change and result in a peaceful transition of power.  This is something desired by the supporters of the GCC initiative, including regional powers like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, and foreign powers such as the United States and its allies in Europe. These forces have not taken Yemen’s security into consideration, especially the rise in killings targeting civilians, which have been taking place in the open. It is something that is rationally unacceptable, and granting Saleh immunity from prosecution for the crimes that took place during the revolution is against laws, customs and emotions. In addition, it is very important to prosecute those responsible for hiding the truth about detainees and prisoners.  

It is mistaken to believe that the situation in sister Syria is far worse than in Yemen, and that just because more people are being killed there, our regime is more merciful.  The suffering taking place in Syria and Yemen is the same, because [in both countries, suffering] serves same purpose: achieving freedom.

We should learn from the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, which succeeded in toppling their regimes and are now focused on protecting the revolutionary path determined by the people themselves. The tents [erected by protesters] are still a safe haven for all those desiring freedom and peaceful change in Egypt and Yemen, and the revolutionaries will always be steadfast and faithful [to their ideals] 

Found in: saleh, gcc

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