A woman has reportedly been stoned to death in Yemen by al-Qaeda after being accused of adultery and prostitution.

The woman, who was married, was killed publicly in the city of Al Mukalla, on the country's southern coast, which is under the control of a branch of al-Qaeda operating in the Arabian peninsula.

As AFP reported, the militants "placed the woman in a hole in the middle of the courtyard of a military building and stoned her to death in the presence of dozens of residents," one witness said.

In the handful of nations where stoning still takes place, either as a judicial or extra-judicial method of execution, it is often handed down as a punishment for adultery. Although the law applies to both genders, the vast majority of stoning victims around the world are women.

It is typically carried out by militant groups like al-Qaeda or unauthorised local courts, but it remains on the statute books in a number of more developed Middle Eastern countries such as the United Arab Emirates, where several people have been executed in this way in the last few years.

A number of people have also been stoned to death in Isis-held territories in Syria, most of them women accused of adultery.

Al-Qaeda has been weakened in the last few years after the loss of a number of key figures, but their Arabian offshoot is active in Yemen, destroying ancient artefacts in Al Mukalla and harshly punishing local residents for minor crimes.

Courtesy The Independent