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Militants in Yemen kill man they said was gay, security official says

By Hakim Almasmari, special to CNN
July 16, 2013 -- Updated 1705 GMT (0105 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gunmen killed Hashim Al-Asimi as he was heading home, witnesses say
  • The witnesses said the militants had warned him to stop his homosexual activity
  • Homosexuality is against the law in Yemen
  • Performing homosexual acts, even between consenting adults, is punishable by death

(CNN) -- A security official in Yemen's southern Lahj province say that religious militants have shot dead a man they had accused of being gay.

Witnesses said that two gunmen on a motorbike killed Hashim Al-Asimi as he was heading home Monday.

The witnesses, who knew the victim, told CNN that the militants had warned him to stop his homosexual activity at least twice previously and that he would be killed.

Read more: Campaigners push for marriage equality worldwide

"Many extremists live in Lahj, and being gay is unacceptable to nearly everyone in the province," said a Yemeni security official in the province who asked to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

"This incident has the hallmarks of extremist groups, but al Qaeda has not announced responsibility for the attack," the security official added.

Not everyone knew Al-Asimi was gay, said the witnesses, who added that he was not in a relationship.

The official said that residents in the area did not report the death to police. After a crowd gathered at the scene, security forces discovered the body about two hours after the shooting.

Homosexuality is against the law in Yemen. The performance of homosexual acts, even between consenting adults, is punishable by death.

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