Content warning: Distressing information surrounding LGBTQ+ prosecution, discrimination and violence
As many as 22 people have been sentenced to death in Yemen for homosexuality-related charges. The rulings were issued by two courts run by the Shia Islamist political and military organisation known as the Houthis or, officially, Ansar Allah.
According to Amnesty International, on January 23, the criminal court in Dhamar sentenced nine individuals to death and 23 others to prison terms of up to 10 years on charges including “homosexuality”, “spreading immorality” and “immoral acts”. Furthermore, on February 1, the court of first instance in Ibb handed down the death penalty to 13 students and flogging to three others for “spreading homosexuality,” resulting in as many as 22 people in Yemen currently facing capital punishment for offences relating to same-sex conduct.
In a statement published on February 9, Grazia Careccia, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, described the reports as “deeply distressing”.
“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 continued by calling on the Houthi de facto authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release all individuals who are held solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity”.
“All forms of violence, harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression must stop,” she said.
Speaking about the public flogging sentences, Careccia called the practice “a cruel and inhuman punishment which violates the absolute prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment under international law”, adding that it “should not be carried out under any circumstances”.
“It is appalling and unacceptable that the Huthi-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,” she concluded.
#Yemen: Two courts in Yemen have sentenced more than 40 individuals either to death, flogging or prison over charges related to #samesex conduct. Stop the executions and end the persecution of people based sexual orientation or gender identity! https://t.co/sktbjeDNVs
— Amnesty MENA (@AmnestyMENA) February 9, 2024
LGBTQ+ people continue to be prosecuted and targeted by all parties to the conflict in Yemen. Between 2020 and 2022, Amnesty International documented how 17 people with non-conforming sexual orientations, sex characteristics or gender identities or expressions faced arbitrary arrest, torture, sexual violence, threats and harassment, at the hands of the Southern Transitional Council, Houthis and Internationally Recognized Government.
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