Yemen: Al-Qaeda suspects kill man they believed was gay

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Suspected members of Al-Qaeda on Thursday shot dead a Yemeni man who they believed was gay, a security official has said.

Speaking to AFP, the official said: “Armed Al-Qaeda suspects on a motorbike opened fire on 29-year-old Salem Ahmed Hasan in a market in Huta.” The man died instantly, the official added.

He went on to say that the man had been targeted by the armed men because they believed he was gay.

Huta is the capital of the southern province of Lahj. Four other men have been killed in similar attacks on men suspected of being gay in the city this year.

The last such attack was in July when suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen shot and wounded a man just days after killing another under similar circumstances. 

Same-sex sexual activity remains illegal in Yemen with punishments ranging from flogging to death.

The country was ranked in 2012 by Amnesty International as one of the eight worst offenders for capital punishment in the world.

In June, Alaa Jarban, a leading student activist during the Arab Spring in Yemen, came out as gay on his blog.

The 21-year-old told the BBC from Canada: “I will never regret doing it” – despite receiving several death threats.