The men were arrested in the Yemeni province of Ibb, in the west of the country, where the Houthi rebels are in power. According to the AFP news agency, 35 other men have been detained on suspicion of homosexuality.
The Houthis are a rebel group supported by Iran that is opposed to the Yemeni government. They currently control the vast majority of western Yemen and use that position to attack Western ships in the Red Sea. They claim to do this to show solidarity with the Palestinians.
"The Huthis are ramping up their abuses at home while the world is busy watching their attacks in the Red Sea," said Niku Jafarnia, a Yemen researcher from Human Rights Watch. "If they really cared about the human rights they purport to be standing up for in Palestine, they wouldn't be flogging and stoning Yemenis to death."
Despite the death sentences being issued, it is not yet certain whether they will actually be carried out. According to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, only a fraction of death sentences in Houthi-controlled areas are actually carried out. In 2021, there was international outrage over the public execution of nine "spies."