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PHOTOS: Man publicly executed in Yemen for murder, rape of child

Published: Updated:

A man convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl was executed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Monday in front of hundreds of onlookers, witnesses said.

Police officers escort Muhammad al-Maghrabi to the execution site, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. (Reuters)
Police officers escort Muhammad al-Maghrabi to the execution site, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. (Reuters)

A policeman fired five bullets from an assault rifle into Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, as he lay with his hands handcuffed behind his back on a blanket on the ground in Sanaa's Tahrir Square, after a judge read out the death sentence.

Police officers escort Muhammad al-Maghrabi to the execution site, in Sanaa. (Reuters)
Police officers escort Muhammad al-Maghrabi to the execution site, in Sanaa. (Reuters)

The execution drew an unusually large number of onlookers - some perched up telegraph poles and many watching from rooftops - because of the young age of Rana al-Matari, the victim.

Police officers prepare for the execution of Muhammad al-Maghrabi. (Reuters)
Police officers prepare for the execution of Muhammad al-Maghrabi. (Reuters)

Security was tight amid fears of a revenge attack on Maghrabi by armed tribesmen related to his victim. The police truck transporting Maghrabi to the square was escorted by five police patrol vehicles.

People and police troopers gather at the site of the execution of Muhammad al-Maghrabi. (Reuters)
People and police troopers gather at the site of the execution of Muhammad al-Maghrabi. (Reuters)

Yahya al-Matari, the father of the girl, told reporters after the execution that he felt as if he had been reborn. "This is the first day in my life," he said. "I am relieved now."