Last updated: 6 October, 2012

Yemeni tribal leader calls to end Saleh immunity

An influential Yemeni tribal chief called on Saturday for the repeal of ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s immunity from prosecution.

Saleh was granted immunity under Gulf-brokered deal last year in which he stood down, bowing to domestic and international pressure, but is accused by his detractors of fuelling instability in Yemen since his departure.

“We invite brothers and friends who sponsor the Gulf initiative to lift the immunity granted to Saleh because he has not respected the conditions of this immunity,” Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar said at a meeting of the “Alliance of Yemeni Tribes” in Sanaa.

Saleh stepped down after 33 years in power during last year’s popular uprising against him, in exchange for a deal that gave him and his relatives immunity.

Saleh still leads the General People’s Congress party, and is accused of sowing domestic instability.

Ahmar called on political forces in the country to participate in national dialogue, which he said was “the only honourable framework in which to bring Yemen out of its ordeal.”

A national dialogue conference proposed by the government is due to begin in November as part of Yemen’s transition process from Saleh’s rule.

Ahmar heads the Alliance of Yemeni Tribes, created in July 2011 in support of last year’s uprising.

He rallied the rebellion, but had been a long-time supporter of Saleh, whose clan belongs to the same tribal grouping, the Hashid.