Yemen declares amnesty for rebels

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has ordered an amnesty for all jailed supporters of a slain Shia rebel cleric who waged an insurgency against the state last year.

    Saleh (above) also announced an amnesty for al-Huthi's father

    Yemeni forces have killed and arrested hundreds of loyalists of Hussein al-Huthi, who led a group that wants to install Shia clerical rule and preaches violence against the United States and Israel.

     

    Some of al-Huthi's supporters are on trial. It was not clear if they would be freed under the amnesty.

     

    "We have declared an amnesty for the supporters of Hussein al-Huthi and his father who are in jail for the strife they caused," Saleh said in a speech carried by state television.

     

    "We have pardoned them despite the blood that has been spilled," he added.

     

    Al-Huthi's group is not linked to al-Qaida.

     

    Yemen, the ancestral homeland of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, joined the US-led "war on terror" after the 11 September 2001 attacks.

     

    Al-Huthi's death

     

    Yemeni forces killed al-Huthi along with 200 rebels during fierce fighting last year.

     

    Al-Huthi was killed in Yemen
    during fierce clashes last year

    The government blamed his father, Shaikh Badr al-Din al-Huthi, for a new round of fighting that erupted in March and in which 170 rebels and security forces were killed.

     

    The elder al-Huthi has agreed to stop fighting.

     

    Saleh announced the amnesty in a speech to mark the 1962 army coup that ended Yemen's religious rule and transformed it into a republic.

     

    Saleh said the government would compensate the family of Imam Ahmad Hamid al-Din, Yemen's last Islamic leader whose assets were seized after the coup. He did not elaborate.

     

    Most of the imam's family live outside Yemen.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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