Saudi Arabia Issues Royal Pardon for Soldiers in Yemen

Saudi Arabia’s has issued a royal pardon for all soldiers deployed in Yemen, a statementpublished by Saudi Arabia’ s government news agency SPA earlier in the week.

The royal pardon covers all “military men” who have taken part in “Operation Restoring Hope”. The official clean slate is signed off by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The statement did not mention what crimes the soldiers were pardoned for, but all “military and disciplinary penalties” have been wiped off.

Whether the pardon comes as a result of human rights groups’ deep criticism of Saudi Arabia’s military activity in Yemen is unclear.

Saudi Arabia has a duty to investigate war crimes committed by their own nationals and prosecute those responsible in a fair and impartial manner, human rights groups have repeatedly said.

5. A "pardon" now, while war continues, #Saudi coalition carries on conducting strikes, a major offensive on "pause," but could restart any minute –> Sends exactly wrong message to current Saudi officers operating in #Yemen.

— Kristine Beckerle (@K_Beckerle) July 11, 2018

The conflict in Yemen escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains. The group had taken control of the capital, Sanaa, and large swathes of the country forcing the internationally backed government into exile. More than 15,000 Yemenis have been killed according to the UN and millions continue to suffer in what it has declared as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Today, Amnesty International accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and allied Yemeni forces of torturing detainees at a network of secret prisons in southern Yemen and said such violations should be investigated as war crimes.

Top Photo | Saudi soldiers fire artillery toward vehicles approaching the Saudi border with Yemen in Jazan, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Hasan Jamali)

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