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Pro-Houthi court sentences Yemen president to death for treason

Supporters of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi gather to mark the 6th anniversary of the Yemeni uprising in Taiz, Yemen on February 11, 2017 [Abdulnasser Alseddik / Anadolu Agency]
Supporters of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi gather to mark the 6th anniversary of the Yemeni uprising in Taiz, Yemen on February 11, 2017 [Abdulnasser Alseddik / Anadolu Agency]

A Yemeni court in territory controlled by the armed Houthi movement sentenced the group's enemy in a two-year-old civil war President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and six other top officials in his government to death for "high treason" on Saturday.

The decision by a court in the capital Sanaa, reported by the state news agency Saba, which is run by the Houthis, may render more remote the resumption of stalled peace talks to end the conflict which has killed at least 10,000 people.

Saudi Arabia and a mostly Gulf Arab military coalition have launched thousands of air strikes and a small number of ground troops to try to dislodge the Houthis and restore Hadi to power.

The Houthis, allied to Saudi Arabia's arch-enemy Iran, have progressively lost territory to the offensive but maintain control over the capital and most population centres.

Read: Yemen's food crisis – ancient trade route represents a lifeline

Several rounds of peace talks have ended in failure and the Houthis insist Hadi is illegitimate and must stand down, a position rejected by his government and the United Nations.

Saba quoted the Sanaa criminal court as having convicted Hadi of "incitement and assistance to the aggressor state of Saudi Arabia and its allies."

The death sentence for high treason was also passed down on several senior government officials including the ambassador to the United States Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak and the former foreign minister Riyadh Yassin.

"With great pride my name is on this list of honour," bin Mubarak wrote on his official Facebook page, calling his convicted colleagues his "brothers".

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