Yemen’s Saleh departs for medical treatment in the US

Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh departed Yemen Sunday for Oman, where he would stop before continuing on to the United States, Reuters reported. He plans to return in time for the inauguration of Yemen's next president after the February 21 elections.

Saleh, who was granted immunity by Parliament yesterday, traveled to Saudi Arabia last year for treatment after a June assassination attempt left his skin badly burned. But an earlier attempt to leave Yemen for the United States was canceled when the Obama administration declined his request for a visa.

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Today, thousands of Yemenis protested in Sanaa after the controversial immunity bill was passed. The bill passed qualified the initially sweeping immunity granted to Yemeni officials, but Saleh and his family were still spared. Bloomberg reported:

Tens of thousands of Yemenis rallied today in several cities, including the capital Sana’a and Taiz, to protest the immunity law, saying Saleh and his aides are responsible for at least 1,100 deaths over the past year.

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