Yemen: 24 Baha'i people, including a child, face possible death sentences
Teenage girl among those facing serious charges, including alleged espionage
‘Once again, we are seeing trumped-up charges and flagrantly unfair proceedings used to persecute Yemeni Baha’is’ - Lynn Maalouf
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 Specialised Criminal Court in Sana’a, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:
“Once again, we are seeing trumped-up charges and flagrantly unfair proceedings used to persecute Yemeni Baha’is for their faith. 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.”
Persecution of Baha’i
Since 2015, Amnesty has documented a number of incidents in which members of the Baha’i community in Yemen have been detained by the Huthi authorities.
In January this year, the Huthi authorities sentenced 52-year-old prisoner of conscience Hamid Haydara to death for allegedly collaborating with Israel and forging official documents. Haydara, who had been detained since late 2013, was given the sentence after a fundamentally-flawed process, including trumped-up charges, an unfair trial and credible allegations that he was tortured and otherwise ill-treated in custody.