A court run by the Houthi group in Yemen has reportedly sentenced 13 individuals to be executed in public after being found “guilty” of homosexuality charges.
The Houthis are an Islamist political and military organisation that controls a large portion of Yemen in opposition to the country’s official government.
According to Agence France-Presse, the sentences were handed down in the province of Ibb, although it’s unclear when the executions will take place.
Dozens of Others Arrested
Sources have informed the news agency that three other individuals were sentenced to prison on similar charges.
Additionally, it’s believed that a further 35 people have been detained in the province also on homosexuality charges.
The Houthis have made headlines in recent months over a series of attacks on non-military cargo ships in the Red Sea since October, including taking crew members hostage.
The group asserts that these acts are to show solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people in the wake of the Israel–Hamas war and charges of genocide against the Israeli government.
Human Rights Watch has condemned the attacks on commercial vessels as potential war crimes as they constitute the targeting of civilians and civilian objects.
The Death Penalty for Homosexuality
Yemen’s Penal Code criminalises acts of ‘homosexuality’ and ‘lesbianism’ and carries a maximum penalty of death by stoning.
Human Dignity Trust reports while there have been incidents of discrimination, violence and arrests, there is no evidence of executions of LGBTQ+ people having been carried out by the government in recent years.
According to ILGA World, in addition to Yemen, the death penalty is a legally prescribed punishment for consensual same-sex sexual acts in five other UN member states. These are Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria (in 12 northern states), and Saudi Arabia.
In December, Évariste Ndayishimiye, the President of Burundi, came under fire for calling for the public stoning of gay people in his country.