WAR ON YEMEN CONTINUES: Saudi Arabia Pardons Convicted Soldiers So They Could Keep Fighting Houthis

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RIYADH/SANA’A- Saudi authorities pardoned army soldiers convicted of various crimes in the ultra-conservative kingdom in order to encourage them to stay in battlefronts and fight against the Yemeni army forces and their allies from Popular Committees, according to a report.

Mirat al-Jazeera news website, citing a report published by Saudi Arabian daily newspaper Okaz, reported on Monday that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has found soldiers from the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) as well as command centers in Yemen eligible for receiving the clemency by relevant judicial officials.

The report added that the offer does not apply to troops found guilty by courts of crimes against national security and grave offenses. Observers and juridical experts argue that the directive aims to pardon Saudi soldiers involved in the war against Yemen, who have criminal records and are convicted of criminal acts in different regions of the conflict-plagued country.

Moreover, the directive indicates that the Saudi regime relies on fighters with an aggressive nature to commit crimes and gross human rights violations against regular Yemeni people. Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The United States-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 91,000 lives over the past four and a half years. The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

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