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Saudis are occupiers, says Yemen's first female Nobel laureate Tawakkol Karman

Karman is an Islamist who won the Nobel Prize for her Arab Spring role [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 February, 2018

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Tawakkol Karman, the first Yemeni and Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, has been sacked by her party for criticising Saudi role in the war ravaging her country.
Tawakkol Karman, the first Yemeni and Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, has been sacked by her party for criticising Saudi Arabia's role in the war ravaging her country.

Karman accused the Saudi-led coalition, waging war in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against Iran-backed rebels, of "occupying" Yemen

Karman won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her role in Arab Spring protests that ousted Yemen's long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Speaking at the Warwick Economics Summit at the University of Warwick over the weekend, Karman said Saudi Arabia and the UAE were driven by a “reckless adventurism” when they intervened in Yemen in 2015 after Iran-aligned Houthi forces drove Hadi into exile.

In an earlier Twitter message, she wrote: “Saudi Arabia and UAE took advantage of the (Houthi) militia coup in Sanaa to launch a very ugly occupation and an uglier influence in Yemen.”

The Islah party, allied to Hadi ordered her suspended from its ranks, reported Reuters.

“Tawakkol Karman’s statements do not represent the Islah party and its policies, and are not in line with the party’s positions,” a statement posted on Islah’s website said.

Read also: Most 'liked' in Yemen: Meeting Tawakkol Karman

“Therefore, the general secretary has decided to freeze her membership according to the party’s status.”

Al-Islah is regarded as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Although the latter is viewed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE as a terrorist organisation, Al-Islah has moved closer to the two Arab governments recently.

Karman responded on her Twitter account by describing Islah leaders as “prisoners and slaves” of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

Karman has recently stepped up public criticism of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, accusing them of backing a campaign to divide Yemen by supporting southern separatists against the internationally recognised government.

Karman left Yemen after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa. 

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the conference had taken place in London. We are sorry for any confusion.

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