The European Union joined a chorus of international criticism on Monday over the execution of nine men by the Iran-aligned Houthi militias in Yemen following their conviction for involvement in the killing of former prominent member Saleh al-Samad.
Samad, who was the head of the Houthis’ so-called supreme political council, was killed in an airstrike by the Arab coalition in the port city of Hodeidah on Yemen’s west coast in April 2018.
A Houthi court found the nine men, including one who was a minor, guilty of spying. They were executed on Saturday by firing squad.
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.
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”.