9 February 2012
Human Rights Watch reports on use of excessive force against peaceful protesters in Taizz
(Human Rights Watch/IFEX) - New York, February 8, 2012 - Yemeni security forces stormed and shelled hospitals, evicted patients at gunpoint, and beat medics during an assault on Yemen's protest movement that killed at least 120 people in the flashpoint city of Taizz last year, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is in the United States receiving medical treatment, received amnesty in Yemen for such attacks.
In the 75-page report, "'No Safe Places': Yemen's Crackdown on Protests in Taizz," Human Rights Watch called on the United States, the European Union, and Persian Gulf states to publicly acknowledge that the domestic immunity granted Saleh and his aides last month has no legal effect outside Yemen.
"President Saleh's forces killed and wounded hundreds of civilians, evicted hospital patients, and blocked war wounded from reaching care," said Letta Tayler, Yemen researcher at Human Rights Watch. "Saleh is entitled to medical treatment, but he and his aides have no right to immunity from prosecution for international crimes."
When Yemenis took to the streets in January 2011 to demand an end to Saleh's 33-year rule, Taizz, 250 kilometers south of the capital, Sanaa, became a center of both peaceful and armed resistance - and the scene of numerous human rights abuses and violations of the laws of war. "No Safe Places" is based on more than 170 interviews with protesters, doctors, human rights defenders, and other witnesses to attacks in Taizz by state security forces and pro-Saleh gangs from February to December 2011.
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