Political Analysis

Saleh Responds to Death Rumors

National Yemen

Saleh Responds to Death Rumors

By National Yemen

Former Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh accused the Muslim Brotherhood of an assassination attempt against him during the protests period of two years ago, which led him to leave power. He claimed that al-Qaeda was a faction of the Brotherhood in Yemen.

In a television interview on Saturday night, Saleh said that rumors of his death in a Swedish hospital were false, and claimed that “the Muslim Brotherhood that tried to assassinate me … is also behind all the assassinations of officers and military and security forces now.”

“The Brotherhood assault and kidnap people, then say the attacks were the work of al-Qaeda. In fact, al-Qaeda is just a faction of “the Brotherhood” stepping out from under its cloak.” He pointed out that Yemen now lives in chaos.

Certain recent press reports say that Saleh died of a stroke in Sweden last Friday. But the former Yemeni president responded, “I really died during my 14-day recovery after the assassination attempt against me in the al-Handeen Mosque; an attempt plotted by the Brotherhood.”

Regarding Yemeni unity, Saleh said that the country is a solid unit, and that it is important to think of constitutional amendments, which grant local authorities the power to limit the central government.

As always, there continue to be rumors spread about Saleh by the members of the Congress Party. These rumors keep him and those close to him in the center of the media spotlight.

For example, users of social networking sites recently published a number of rumors about Saleh’s death and his travel to Saudi Arabia and/or Sweden for treatment. Saleh denied these rumors.

 Saleh appeared in a television interview hours after the rumors were published on the two channels owned by the Congress party. In the interview, Saleh said, “Yes, I died for a period of 14 days after the bombing of the Presidential Palace on the first Friday of June 2011.” He announced the continuation of his political activism, despite the proposals of political isolation put forth by certain working groups in the National Dialogue Conference. He also stated that political isolation and immunity is not a gift from anyone, but rather a station of power transfer to the vice president.

The website of the Islam Times published comments of the press secretary to the former president, Ahmed Soufi, regarding rumors that the former Yemeni president fell into a coma from time to time, which prevented him from receiving would-be visitors during Eid al-Adha.

Soufi explained, “In fact Saleh, suffers has been ill for the past four weeks. He is now past any danger, but he is still suffering the aftereffects of his illness, which require him to limit his time spent working for the General People’s Congress and meeting leaders.”

Regarding the nature of Saleh’s illness, Soufi said, “it is a cold, because Saleh’s immune system was greatly weakened during the incident at the Presidential Palace. As such, his ability to resist the disease, as well as the cold climate, in conjunction with the many drugs he was administered in June 2011 have negatively impacted his immune response.”

Saleh suffers from high blood pressure in addition to chronic pain in those areas on which doctors operated in 2011, including his ears and head. According to an official source, the interview with Saleh was recorded and not played live.