Yemen: The Death of Ahmed el Osamy

Homosexuality is something of a tradition in backward Yemen, where Bedouin herdsmen roam the rocky hills for months on end with only each other and their animals for company. Male brothels flourish in San'a, the capital, and the late Imam Ahmad, who ruled the country for 14 years before his death in 1962, established an international reputation for overzealous camaraderie.

But times are changing. Last week a Moslem religious court convicted Ahmed el Osamy, a 60-year-old government worker who ran one of San'a's top boydellos, of being a practicing pederast, and sentenced him to death. Under an ancient Yemeni law, the...

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