'Saleh leaves Yemen for US'
Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:5PM
File photo of Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh
Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh has left the capital, Sana'a, for the United States to receive medical treatment, an official says.
The official from Saleh's office said the Yemeni dictator left the capital on Sunday but did not specify Saleh's destination.
This comes while authorities in Sana'a said on Sunday that Saleh's son, who runs the Republican Guard, was “already in Oman” to prepare for his father's visit to the Arab country en route to the United States.
In a farewell speech earlier on Sunday, Saleh said, “I will go to the United States for treatment and will then return as the head of the General People's Congress (GPC) party,” Yemeni state media reported.
Last week, a senior official of Saleh's GPC party said Saleh will visit “Oman and then Ethiopia before travelling to New York for [the] treatment” of the wounds he sustained in an attack on the presidential palace in June 2011.
Saleh's departure from Sana'a comes one day after Yemen's parliament approved a law that grants complete immunity from prosecution to the dictator for the crimes committed during his 33-year-long rule.
The immunity law is part of a power transfer deal brokered by the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council and supported by the United States. The legislation gives immunity to Saleh's aides only on “politically motivated” criminal acts and not on corruption charges.
“I ask for forgiveness from all my people, men and women, for any shortcomings during my 33-year-long rule,” Saleh said during his speech on Sunday.
However, Yemeni anti-regime protesters reject the immunity law and say that Saleh and his aides must face prosecution for the killing of hundreds of demonstrators during the popular uprising that began in January 2011.
The Yemeni parliament has also adopted a law that approves Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi as the “consensus candidate” in the upcoming presidential election of February 21.