Responding to news that 24 Yemenis from the Baha’i faith – including eight women and a child – are facing charges that could result in death sentences by the Huthi-controlled Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research, said:
“Once again, we are seeing trumped up charges and flagrantly unfair proceedings used to persecute Yemeni Baha’is for their faith. And it is particularly abhorrent that some of these men and women could face the death penalty for their conscientiously held beliefs and peaceful activities.
“Once again, we are seeing trumped up charges and flagrantly unfair proceedings used to persecute Yemeni Baha’is for their faith. And it is particularly abhorrent that some of these men and women could face the death penalty for their conscientiously held beliefs and peaceful activities.”
“The group, which includes a teenage girl, were charged with various serious offences including espionage for foreign states, some of which can carry the death penalty. The Huthi authorities should drop these bogus charges, release those who are arbitrarily detained and end their abuse of the justice system to punish freedom of belief and persecute political critics, journalists, activists, Baha’is and other minorities.”
Since 2015, Amnesty International has documented a number of incidents in which members of the Baha’i community in Yemen were detained by the Huthi authorities. At the moment, six Baha’is are detained by the Huthis in Yemen, including some who have been subjected to enforced disappearances, torture and incommunicado detention.
In January 2018, the Huthi authorities sentenced 52-year-old prisoner of conscience Hamid Haydara to death for allegedly collaborating with Israel and forging official documents. This sentence came after Hamid Haydara had been detained since December 2013, and was the result of a fundamentally flawed process, including trumped up charges, an unfair trial and credible allegations that he was tortured and ill-treated in custody.