A Houthi court in Dhamar, Yemen, has sentenced nine people to death on homosexuality charges, according to Amnesty International. Seven were sentenced to be executed by stoning and two by crucifixion. Twenty-three others were sentenced to six months to ten years in prison on various charges, including homosexuality, “spreading immorality,” and “immoral acts.”
Videos have already been posted to social media of two people being flogged in public, perhaps in front of the men’s homes.
Additionally, a Houthi court in Ibb, Yemen, sentenced 13 students to death and three others to flogging for “spreading homosexuality,” according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Another 35 people have been detained on homosexuality charges, sources said.
More than 40 men have been sentenced in the two courts run by the Houthi movement. The regime has been attacking shipping vessels on the Red Sea since November and suffered retaliatory strikes by the United States and Britain.
Yemen sits at the southeastern edge of the Red Sea, where the Iran-backed movement has launched dozens of provocative drone and missile assaults on commercial shipping and U.S. Navy targets after the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and Israel’s overwhelming military response in the Gaza Strip.
The Iran-backed Houthi movement, which controls the most populated areas of the desert nation, has been engaged in a long-running war with a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s northern neighbor.
Grazia Careccia, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, called the planned executions “gruesome public spectacles” designed to spread fear among LGBTQ+ people and the Yemeni population at large.
She described all of the sentences as “deeply distressing.”
“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,” she said in a statement.
“The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all individuals who are held solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” she added.
Niku Jafarnia, a Yemen researcher from Human Rights Watch, told AFP, “The Houthis are ramping up their abuses at home while the world is busy watching their attacks in the Red Sea.”
“If they really cared about the human rights they purport to be standing up for in Palestine,” Jafarnia added, “they wouldn’t be flogging and stoning Yemenis to death.”
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for clarity.