Thirty five parliamentarians in Yemen were handed death penalty for treason by a Houthi-controlled Specialized Criminal Court in the capital, Sana’a earlier this week. The pro-government MPs were sentenced in absentia.
The UN human rights office is calling for the revocation of the death sentence as it considers the trial unfair and the proceedings politically motivated.
“We are extremely concerned by the overall conduct of the trial and that it is politically motivated, as well its failure to comply with international norms and standards,” human rights spokesperson Liz Throssell told journalists in Geneva on Friday.
The politicians reportedly were charged with “having taken actions threatening the stability of the republic of Yemen, its unity, and security of its territory” relating to their participation in a meeting last April with the country’s internationally-recognized President Abdo Rabo Mansour Hadi.
“Following the issue of the sentences in Sana’a, we received reports that the homes of some parliamentarians in Sana’a were ransacked by a group of the Houthi women police, and their family members, who were inside their homes, given 24 hours to leave their property,” said Ms. Throssell.
The human rights office said the death penalty is an extreme form of punishment reserved for the “most serious crimes” involving intentional killing and should only be imposed, if at all, after a fair trial that respects stringent due process guarantees.
Yemen’s government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, has been embroiled in a years-long conflict with Houthi rebel forces that is backed by Iran.
The war in Yemen has resulted in a great humanitarian crisis and a resolution to the conflict is not even on the horizon. (Source: UN News)