A child rapist who was convicted of the rape and subsequent murder of a 3-year-old girl in Yemen was publicly executed on Monday. According to the Toronto Sun, the convicted man was identified as 41-year-old Muhammad al-Maghrabi and he was shot dead by a group of Yemeni police officers in full public view as hundreds of onlookers watched. People even recorded the entire sequence of events using their mobile phone cameras, according to the report. The execution was also broadcast live across several Yemeni TV channels.
The public execution was carried out at the Tahrir Square, a busy junction in the center Sanaa. Before his execution, al-Maghrabi was brought to the central square in an armored vehicle even as people shouted slogans against him. He was then escorted by armed policemen to the center where they had a kept a rug ready for him. The man was then laid down on the mat with his hands tied behind his back. Before a police officer fired the fatal shots, a judge read out the judge sentence that had sealed his fate. Also in proximity to al-Maghrabi were the family members of the victim who as per the Islamic Sharia law have the power to forgive the man. The family, however, refused to give clemency to al-Maghrabi – thereby sealing his fate.
A few minutes after he was brought to the busy Tahrir Square, a policeman used his automatic weapon from point blank range and shot al-Maghrabi five times. He was killed instantly.
While public execution is a fairly common mode of punishment in several middle eastern countries, this particular execution drew an unusually large crowd because of the nature of the crime. People were seen perching high on telephone poles and rooftops to see the execution with thousands of others tuning into their televisions to watch the event live. The name of al-Maghrabi’s 3-year-old victim was later revealed to be Rana al-Matari.
Before the execution, security around Maghrabi was tight because of fears of an attack on him by armed members of the tribe the victim belonged to. In fact, the vehicle in which Maghrabi was brought to Tahrir Square was escorted by five other vehicles all filled with heavily armed guards. Following the execution, Yahya al-Matari, the father of the victim said he was happy that al-Maghrabi was executed and that he felt as if he had been reborn.
“This is the first day in my life. I am relieved now.”
More such executions are expected in Yemen in the weeks to follow.
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