Metro Weekly

9 Gay Men to be Crucified and Stoned to Death in Yemen

A second Houthi court sentenced 13 students to death and ordered others to be flogged for "spreading homosexuality."

A Houthi court in Dhamar, Yemen, has sentenced nine people to death on homosexuality charges, with seven to be executed by stoning and two others by crucifixion, according to the international rights organization Amnesty International.

That same court, located in northern Yemen, has also sentenced 23 other men to prison sentences ranging from six months to 10 years on various charges, including homosexuality, “spreading immorality,” and “immoral acts.”

Meanwhile, a second court, in the city of Ibb, has sentenced 13 students to death and ordered three others to be flogged for “spreading homosexuality.”

Another 35 people have been detained on homosexuality charges, according to Agence France-Presse.

Videos shared with AFP, which could not be independently verified, showed a judge in a court reading out the death sentences. It is unclear when the executions will occur, although the sentences can be appealed. 

Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab analyzed three videos that appeared on social media on January 24 and 25, just days after the court in Dhamar handed down its verdict.

The videos show at least two individuals being flogged in public by a man in a security uniform. The videos are believed to have been filmed in front of the men’s homes and in the presence of Houthi officials.

“The reports that the [Houthi] de facto authorities have sentenced nine people to death on charges related to same-sex conduct, in gruesome public spectacles aimed at spreading fear in the population, are deeply distressing,” Grazia Careccia, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

“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.”

Careccia added, “Public flogging is a cruel and inhuman punishment which violates the absolute prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment under international law and should not be carried out under any circumstances. It is appalling and unacceptable that the [Houthi]-controlled judiciary continues to gravely violate human rights by interfering in people’s private lives by prosecuting individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Amnesty International has called on the government of Yemen to comply with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by repealing laws that criminalize same-sex intimacy or condone discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

The Houthis, a tribe from northern Yemen, belong to the Zaidi minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

In the 1990s, the Houthi movement arose over alleged neglect of the Houthis’ home region, as well as the perceived threat of foreign intervention. The movement condemned the former Yemeni government’s alliance with the United States and sought to push for a theocracy within the country.

Since 2015, the Houthis, who Iran and the terrorist organization Hezbollah back, have been engaged in a longstanding conflict with a pro-government coalition led by its northern neighbor, Saudi Arabia, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths.

The Houthis control Yemen’s most populated areas. 

Since seizing the capital city of Sana’a in 2014, the Houthis have sentenced 350 people to death for a variety of crimes, including these most recent convictions for homosexuality. Since that time, at least 11 people who were convicted have been executed.

Non-governmental organizations claim that human rights abuses have increased since Houthi forces began launching drones and missiles at international shipping and U.S. Navy vessels on the Red Sea beginning in November, ostensibly in protest of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and Israel’s militarization in response to the October 7 Hamas-led terrorist attack.

“The Houthis are ramping up their abuses at home while the world is busy watching their attacks in the Red Sea,” Niku Jafarnia, a Yemen researcher from Human Rights Watch, told AFP. “If they really cared about the human rights they purport to be standing up for in Palestine, they wouldn’t be flogging and stoning Yemenis to death.”

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