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In TV Spectacle, Man Convicted of Child Rape-Murder Is Executed in Yemen

Many spectators held cellphone cameras aloft to record it. Some were perched on telephone poles and rooftops.

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Spectators found a range of vantage points to witness the execution. Credit Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

Shamsan Alyafaei, a 23-year-old university student, said he and some other spectators had learned of the execution on Sunday from messages on WhatsApp and Facebook. Some people arrived at 7 a.m., more than two hours beforehand, to get a good view, and held banners that read “Justice has won,” and “Rana’s blood won’t be in vain.”

Mr. Alyafaei said there had been talk that the condemned man was mentally unstable. Still, he said of the outcome, “as long as it was based on a judicial verdict, it’s fine.”

Abdulkareem Ziraei, 32, a news photographer, estimated that 10,000 people were in the square for the execution and that the overwhelming majority had approved. Many yelled “long live justice!” he said, as the executioner discharged his weapon into Mr. Maghrabi’s back.

News photographs showed Mr. Maghrabi lying on his stomach with hands bound behind him as a uniformed soldier or police officer standing right over him opened fire.

A Reuters dispatch from Sana quoted Yahya al-Matari, the father of the girl, as saying afterward that he felt justice had been served. “This is the first day in my life,” he was quoted as saying. “I am relieved now.”

The child was killed on June 25, the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a joyous Muslim holiday that signifies the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Yemen, the Middle East’s poorest country, is overwhelmingly Muslim.

At least 10,000 people have been killed in the war between the Houthis, who are backed by Iran, and a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which views Iran as a regional threat. The war’s impact also has placed much of the country on the verge of famine and contributed to a cholera outbreak that has sickened roughly 400,000 Yemenis.

Source: NYT > World

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