Houthi rebels find nine men guilty of spying in Yemen were they were shot dead in a brutal public execution in which they were dragged into a square, forced to lie on their fronts and shot in the back.
They were convicted in a 'sham trial' for their alleged involvement in the killing of a senior Houthi official in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition more than three years ago.
Hundreds of people, mostly Houthis and their supporters, attended Saturday's execution in Tahrir Square in the rebel-held capital of Sanaa.
Nine 'spies' dragged to public square and shot dead in public execution carried out by Houthi rebels https://t.co/7cvPM3oAZ4— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) September 21, 2021
The killings, carried out by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, have sparked international outrage with the EU branding them 'cruel and inhumane'.
The nine were among more than 60 people the Houthis accused of involvement in the targeted killing of Saleh al-Samad in April 2018.
They were charged with spying for the Saudi-led coalition, which has been waging war against the rebels for years in an effort to bring back Yemen's internationally recognised government to power.
Al-Samad, who held the post of president in the administration which runs most of northern Yemen, was killed by a coalition air strike in the port city of Hodeidah on Yemen's west coast.
A Houthi court found the nine men, including one who was a minor when he was arrested, guilty of spying and sharing sensitive information.
Pictures and videos of the executions have been widely shared on social media, which showed military officers shooting the nine men in the back in Sanaa's central public square.
The nine were arrested months after al-Samad's killing and were held for months in undisclosed places where they suffered inhumane treatment, according to Abdel-Majeed Sabra, a Yemeni lawyer representing one of the people executed.
In a statement condemning the executions, an EU spokesperson said there had also been reports of irregularities in the judicial process and allegations of mistreatment.
'The European Union strongly opposes the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. It is a cruel and inhumane punishment...,' said the statement.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a similar statement in which he also called for a moratorium on use of the death penalty in Yemen and for a peaceful negotiated settlement of the conflict there.
The US embassy in Yemen condemned what it called 'a sham trial following years of torture and abuse' by the Houthis.
Britain said the executions demonstrated 'indifference to human dignity & blatant disregard for fair trial & due process'.
The Houthis' foreign ministry dismissed the criticism as 'interference in domestic affairs' and accused the United Nations and the West of turning a blind eye to the 'coalition's crimes'.
Samad was the most senior official to be killed by the coalition in the years-long war in which the Houthis are fighting forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government based in the southern port city of Aden.
Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2014, when the Houthis swept across much of the north and seized Sanaa, forcing the internationally recognised government into exile.
The Saudi-led coalition entered the war the following year on the side of the government.
The stalemated conflict has killed more than 130,000 people and spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.