Yemen’s embattled dictator said in a televised address this week that he was on his way to the United States for medical treatment, adding that he would not be returning to the country as its leader, but as the president of the General People’s Congress party as part of a series of democratic reforms.
Ali Abdullah Saleh has been under siege by his own people, who’ve revolted against his brutal, autocratic rule over the last three decades. He’s also been targeted by demonstrators for his support of U.S. policies, and especially over a U.S. drone bombing campaign that has killed scores of his own people.
Even after repeated, brutal crackdowns on protesters, Saleh has been granted immunity from prosecution by the nation’s government as part of a peace deal brokered by neighboring nations. His long time vice president, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, is also the odds-on favorite candidate to succeed him.
The State Dept. explained that it granted Saleh passage to the U.S. for medical treatment, saying he would only be in the country a “limited time.” The treatment is reportedly related to injuries he sustained in a mortar attack on his compound last year.
This video is from Reuters, published Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.