Man who raped and murdered 3-year-old girl is publicly executed

SANAA (Reuters) - 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.

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.

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Man publicly executed for murder, rape of 3-year-old
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Man publicly executed for murder, rape of 3-year-old
Police officers escort Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, to the execution site, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
Police officers escort Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, to the execution site, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
Police officers prepare for the execution of Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, reacts as he is prepared to be executed in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, looks as he is prepared to be executed in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, looks as he is prepared to be executed in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
Police officers prepare for the execution of Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A police officer opens fire at Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah TEMPLATE OUT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Yahya al-Matari (C) walks at the site of the execution of Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping al-Matari's three-year-old daughter, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
People gather around a police truck carrying the body of Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, after he was executed for raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
People and police troopers gather at the site of the execution of Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, after he was executed for raping and murdering a three-year-old girl a month ago, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH Police officers and people gather around the body of Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, after he was executed for raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah TEMPLATE OUT
A boy waits to watch the execution of Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
People climb a lamp post to watch the execution of Muhammad al-Maghrabi, 41, who was convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl, in Sanaa, Yemen July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
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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.

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.

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."

(Reporting by Khaled Abdullah; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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