UN experts say Yemen crackdown breached international law

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UN human rights experts on Friday condemned a deadly crackdown on protestors in Yemen which left at least 46 dead, saying that it was a breach of international law.

"Not only are attacks on peaceful demonstrators clearly prohibited, but also abiding by instructions to use excessive force constitutes a clear violation of international law," said Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions.

Heyns warned that security officers who fail to protect peaceful demonstrators against violence can be "held criminally accountable".

Frank La Rue, the special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, also had strong words against the action taken by Yemeni authorities.

"The government of Yemen has killed, seriously injured, or arbitrarily detained peaceful protesters. Such flagrant human rights violations are utterly deplorable," he said in the statement which was also jointly issued with the special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez.

In a bloodbath Friday in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, at least 46 people were killed and more than 400 wounded, raising the death toll in almost a month of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule to more than 70.

© 2011 AFP

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