Yemen rebels say nine executed over political leader’s killing

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and former US President Donald Trump were tried in absentia and also sentenced to death.

Houthi supporters hold up their weapons during a demonstration against the United States [Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]

Yemen’s Houthi movement says that authorities have executed nine men convicted of involvement in the 2018 killing of Saleh al-Sammad, then the armed group’s top civilian leader.

Al-Sammad, who held the post of president in the Houthi-controlled administration that runs most of northern Yemen, was killed in April 2018 by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition air attack in the port city of Hodeidah on Yemen’s west coast.

The pro-rebel Saba news agency said on Saturday the nine were shot by a firing squad at a square in the Yemen capital. They were among 17 people convicted of involvement in his killing by a Houthi court.

Seven other people – including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and former US President Donald Trump – were tried in absentia by the court and also sentenced to death.

“The general prosecution has carried out the death sentence against nine people involved in the murder [of al-Samad],” Saba reported. “They were shot to death in Tahrir Square … in the presence of senior Houthi leaders and Sanaa residents.”

World’s worst humanitarian crisis

Al-Sammad 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.

The Houthis – who pledged to avenge his death – have regularly launched ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia. In August this year, they escalated cross-border attacks by also using drones.

Yemen’s government is backed by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition that has received support from Western powers. Saudi Arabia and its mostly Gulf Arab allies allege the Houthis are proxies for their archrival Iran, something the group and Tehran deny.

The conflict began in 2014 when the Houthis seized Sanaa, prompting the Saudi Arabia-led coalition to intervene the following year.

Since then, tens of thousands have been killed and millions pushed to the brink of famine in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Source: News Agencies