Yemen's interim government agreed Sunday to grant President Ali Abdullah Saleh amnesty against prosecution, paving the way for his departure in line with a Gulf plan to end deadly protests against his rule.
The government issued a draft law by which Saleh and his aides "who worked with him in all government, civil and military departments during the years of his rule, are granted amnesty against legal and judicial prosecution," it said in a statement carried by Saba state news agency.
The national unity cabinet that is led by Saleh's opposition referred the draft law, "which applies to all acts committed before it is issued," to the parliament for ratification, Saba said.
In November, Saleh signed a Gulf-brokered deal aimed to end the political crisis in the impoverished country. Under the deal, he handed authority to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, and the opposition formed a national unity government.
Saleh serves now as an honorary president until polls are held in February to elect Mansur as his successor.
A bloody crackdown on anti-Saleh demonstrations since January has claimed hundreds of lives.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday said anyone who had committed abuses during the mass protests in Yemen must not be allowed to evade justice.
The UN commissioner in a statement urged decision-makers in Yemen to respect the prohibition in international law against amnesties for gross human rights violations.