The war in Yemen: the international community condemns the Houthi execution of nine people

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Executions by the Houthis have drawn widespread international condemnation

The United Nations, the United States, and the United Kingdom have strongly condemned the execution of nine men by the Houthi group in Yemen.

The execution squad shot the nine men, including one who was a minor at the time of his arrest, in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, last Sunday.

The nine defendants were convicted by a Houthi court of involvement in the killing of the Houthi leader in an air strike in 2018.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that trial did not meet international standards, while the United States described the execution of the nine men as “shameful” and followed “years of torture”.

The conflict tearing Yemen apart escalated in 2015 when the Houthis seized control of large parts of the country and a Saudi-led military coalition launched an extensive military operation against the rebels in order to restore President Abd Rabbuh Hadi Mansour to rule Yemen.

Reports suggest that the number of victims of the war in Yemen has reached 130,000, prompting the United Nations to describe what is happening in the country as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. This conflict also caused the country to approach a famine that may affect about five million people.

Pictures and videos showed the scene of the Houthi execution of the nine Yemenis by firing squad in the back in Tahrir Square in Sanaa.

The nine people who were killed in the execution in the Yemeni capital were among 16 accused of spying and disclosing sensitive information that led to the killing of Saleh Al-Samad, head of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, and six other people in an air raid launched by the Saudi-led coalition in the city of Hodeidah three years ago.

The Houthi court issued death sentences in absentia to the remaining seven defendants, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and former US President Donald Trump.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations deeply regretted these executions, declaring his strong condemnation of “legal procedures that do not appear to meet the requirements of a fair trial and due process under international law.”

Guterres also called on all parties in Yemen to stop the death penalty, expressing his concerns about the air strikes launched by the Saudi coalition on Shabwa governorate, which reports say left six civilians dead from one family.

An EU spokesman focused on reports of violations in the Houthi trial that resulted in the execution of the nine defendants after they were convicted of spying, in addition to reports that the defendants in that case were ill-treated before their execution. “The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment,” a European Union spokesman said.

The US and UK, which support the Saudi coalition in Yemen, also condemned the “brutal” executions.

“This shameful act adds to examples of the Houthis’ disregard for basic human rights,” said US Chargé d’Affairs in Yemen Cathy Weasley.

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