Washington, D.C., Dec. 31, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Over the last few days, the Houthi authorities in Yemen have escalated their persecution against the Baha’i community.
Due to pressure exerted by the Houthis on officials in Yemen, an appeals court hearing for Mr. Hamed bin Haydara, a Yemeni Baha’i sentenced to death early this year, has been abruptly scheduled for tomorrow, January 1, 2019.
The Houthis have also refused to include six Baha’i prisoners of conscience in the previously agreed-to prisoner exchange negotiated with the Yemeni government under the auspices of the United Nations. The Houthis are fast-tracking the issuing of a verdict against 24 Baha’is, including the six prisoners along with 18 others who are not currently detained, whom they have indicted on charges of apostasy and espionage. These charges, widely decried as baseless by the international community, can carry the death sentence.
Almost a full year has passed since Mr. Haydara appealed his death sentence. The same judge who issued this death sentence is presiding over the case of the 24 Baha’is.
“We are gravely concerned for the Baha’is in Yemen,” said Mr. Anthony Vance, Director of the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs, “as these developments do not inspire confidence in the fairness of their trial. We ask the judicial authorities to clear Mr. Haydara of the baseless accusations made against him, along with those made against the other Baha’is in Yemen.”
James Samimi Farr U.S. Baha'i Office of Public Affairs 202-833-8990 firstname.lastname@example.org