Cairo, Feb. 9 (EFE) – Amnesty International on Friday called on Yemen’s islamist Houthi rebels to “urgently halt planned executions and end the persecution of people based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity” after nearly 50 individuals were convicted on charges related to being LGBT+, almost half of them sentenced to death.
According to AI, on Jan. 23, the criminal court in Dhamar, in northern Yemen, sentenced nine people to death (two by stoning and two by crucifixion) and 23 people to prison terms of up to 10 years on charges including “homosexuality,” “spreading immorality,” and “immoral acts.”
On Feb. 1, a court in Ibb, some 180 km south of Sana’a, sentenced 13 students to death and three others to flogging for “spreading homosexuality.”
“The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, its use is abhorrent regardless of the method of execution and must be condemned in all circumstances,” Grazia Careccia, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in the statement.
“The Huthi de facto authorities must immediately quash the death sentences against these individuals and drop all charges related to their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,” she added.
The Houthis, also known as the forces of Ansarallah, are an Iranian-backed Islamist militant group that controls much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.
They are a nationalist and Shi’a Islamist group and their motto, modeled after that of Iran, is “God is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam.”
Since the war in Gaza broke in October 2023, the Houthis have launched numerous ballistic missiles and drones against ships transiting the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in support of the Palestinians.
Washington announced on Jan. 17 the designation of the Houthis as a terrorist group, days after launching a bombing campaign with the help of the United Kingdom against Houthi military targets in Yemen to try to stop their attacks. EFE