Yemen ‘rebels’ given death penalty

Suspected Yemeni rebels at the state security court in Sanaa on October 17.
Ten alleged rebels were sentenced to death in Yemen Tuesday, the Gulf nation’s official news agency reported.

Five other people were sentenced to 15 years in prison each, Saba news agency said. The latest sentences come a day after the alleged leader of the Houthi rebel movement, Al-Mohatwari, was sentenced to death, and 10 of his followers sentenced to prison for eight to 10 years each. Two others were sentenced to death on Saturday, and 10 others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from eight to 12 years each, Saba reported. Yemen’s government accuses “subversive groups” of supporting an insurgency based in the north of the country. Battles between Yemeni forces and Shiite Houthi rebels there have raged intermittently for five years. A government offensive launched this summer has recently caused more bloodshed.

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The conflict is considered to be both separatist — over who will control the area — and sectarian — whether Shiite Islam will dominate in majority Sunni Yemen. The rebels are supporters of dead Shiite cleric Hussein al-Houthi. Yemen’s government accused the rebels earlier this month of using civilians as human shields, Saba reported. In the past, the group Human Rights Watch has said both Yemeni government forces and rebels have endangered civilians during the fighting.