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Houthi-run court sentences 5 Yemenis to death for espionage

A Houthi-controlled court sentenced five Yemenis to death on Tuesday, five months after the start of trials, according to reports.

“The Specialized Criminal Court of First Instance in Sanaa has sentenced five Yemenis accused of spying and sabotage for British intelligence officers,” the Houthi-affiliated Saba News Agency reported.

It did not clarify if the sentences were final for Arafat Qassem Abdullah Al-Hashidi, Ali Muhammad Abdullah Al-Jamani, Bassem Ali Al-Kharjha, Salim Abdullah Yahya Habeish, and Ayman Mujahid Qaid Harish.

The court also sentenced Muhammad Sharaf Qaid to a five-year prison term while placing him under police supervision for three years, and took guarantees and pledges that he would not disturb security and the public order, according to the news agency.

The Yemeni government and international human rights organizations usually confirm the invalidity of the legitimacy of Houthi-run courts and decisions issued.

The Houthi group began the trial of the six defendants in February on charges of spying for the British intelligence service on Yemeni soil.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthis overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

The conflict has claimed more than 233,000 lives, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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