Houthis sentence President Hadi to death

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Yemen's Houthi rebels have sentenced President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and his government's prime minister to death. 

A court affiliated with the rebel group issued a ruling Tuesday calling for the execution of President Hadi and other officials on charges of "high treason", The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported.

The Sanaa-based Houthi-run Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) denounced President Hadi as well as the current Prime Minister, Maeen Abdulmalik, in addition to the former Foreign Minister, Khaled Al Yamani, according to the Yemeni Saba news agency.

In a session presided over by Judge Mujahid Al-Amadi, the court sentenced Hadi, Abdulmalik and al-Yamani to death and ordered for the confiscation of all their funds, both inside and outside Yemen.

All three officials were also fined one and a half million Yemeni riyals to cover the trial's legal fees. President Hadi stood accused of impersonating the "president of the Republic".

Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, has been convulsed by civil war since 2014, when Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa, along with much of the country's north, driving out the internationally-recognised government.

Months later, a Saudi-led coalition intervened to fight the Iran-backed Houthis and restore the government as the rebels closed in on Aden, prompting President Hadi to flee into Saudi exile.

The Houthis began holding court hearings for officials of the internationally-recognised government a few years ago, and have called for the death sentence on more than one occasion.

The Yemeni government's Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2018 that the Houthi-run criminal court be shut down and that all decisions issued by them be considered null and void.

Seventeen civilians were killed in an attack in a market in Yemen's northern Saada governorate last week, the United Nations said.

The attacks come despite relative calm in the country, where large-scale combat between government troops and Houthi rebels has largely subsided. 

Yemen rebels and pro-government forces exchanged 135 prisoners in the hotly contested city of Taiz in December, the latest trade in a string of prisoner swaps and release deals since a 2018 United Nations-mediated agreement to exchange some 15,000 prisoners.

Read more: Yemen's rebel court issues 'subpoena' for Donald , Barack Obama and MbS

The landmark agreement signed in Sweden in December last year was hailed as Yemen's best chance so far to end a war.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced since March 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen's conflict. 

The fighting set off the world's worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and pushing the country to the brink of famine.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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