First case of its kind since 2009 took place in the Yeemni capital Sanaa on Monday. A man convicted of raping and murdering a three-year-old girl was executed in front of hundreds of onlookers.

“Security was very tight, because authorities were fearing a revenge attack by armed men from the Bani Matar tribe to which the girl’s family belong,” said Reuters photographer Khaled Abdullah who witnessed the scene.

The culprit, Muhammad-al-Maghrabi, 41, was transported in a police van to Sanaa’s Tahrir Square. The execution drew a large number of onlookers, all watching as if a movie is being shot. The crowd was shouting, “Allah is the greatest” when Maghrabi arrived.

“He tried to talk to the executioner, a police officer who was calmly smoking a cigarette as he stood next to him before pointing his AK-47 to his back from a very close distance.

“Soon he fired around four shots, and people realized that it was done, they rushed to the place and tried to take the body, but the police were able to take the body to the van and drove through the crowd out of the square.” Abdullah said.

Yahya al-Matari, the father of the murder victim, Rana al-Matari, told reporters after the execution he was satisfied. “This is the first day in my life,” he said. “I am relieved now.”

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