Houthi rebel court sentences Yemen president to death

AFP , Sunday 26 Mar 2017

Yemen president President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi (Photo: Reuters)

A rebel court in Yemen's insurgent-held capital has sentenced President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to death for high treason in absentia, the rebel news agency has said.

Yemen on Sunday marked the second anniversary of a Saudi-led coalition starting air strikes against the Houthi rebels in support of Hadi's government, after the insurgents overran the capital Sanaa.

The court found Hadi guilty of "usurping the title of president after the end of his term in office" in February 2014, "instigating attacks by Saudi Arabia" and "undermining the independence and integrity of the Republic of Yemen", the rebel-controlled Saba agency said late Saturday.

Six members of Hadi's government were also sentenced to death for treason, it said.

On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Huthi supporters flooded the streets of Sanaa for a mass rally against Saudi Arabia's role in the war, an AFP reporter at the site said.

That came a day after former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied to the Huthis, slammed Riyadh in a speech marking two years since the coalition's military intervention.

"Free Yemenis will continue to choose resistance, as long as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia continues to choose war," Saba quoted Saleh as saying.

Rebel leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi said the Saudi-led coalition had been "living under the illusion that they can take Yemen in a week or a month... but have sunk into the mud," it said.

Hadi's forces have gained ground in southern Yemen since the coalition's intervention in March 2015, but the Houthis still control the capital and strategic ports on the Red Sea coastline.

More than 7,700 people have been killed and over 40,000 injured over the past two years, the United Nations says.

Three million people have been displaced and the country faces a serious threat of famine, it says.

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