Militants from the Al-Qaida linked Ansar Al Sharia islamist group have shot dead a 20-year-old they suspected of being gay in the Yemeni province of Lahj – though there is confusion over whether homosexuality is still a crime in the country.
Hashim Al Asmi was shot dead on Monday night by militants who then escaped on a motorbike.
Officials told the Washinton Post there had been 33 other gay men killed by the militant group.
Ansar Al Sharia is considered the main Al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen and is on the US’ formal list of banned terror organizations.
The Washington Post has claimed that homosexuality is not a crime in Yemeni law, but LGBT rights group ILGA states that sex between people of the same-sex is banned for both men and women, with homosexuality attracting the death penalty.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pilay condemned the country as recently as December 2011 and called on it to end the death penalty for homosexuality.
GSN has been unable to determine whether Yemen’s sharia based legal system has been amended since the country’s 2011 revolution which saw the ousting of President Ali Abdullah Saleh who had lead the country since 1990, and North Yemen before unification since 1978.
During the revolution, Ansar Al Sharia and other militant groups took over large parts of the country but an offensive by the Yemeni Government with US support has regained control over most parts of the country.