GENEVA (25 January 2018) – UN human rights experts* have urged the de facto authorities in Sana’a to annul a death sentence handed down against a follower of the Baha’i faith, reiterating calls for an immediate end to persecution of the community in Yemen.
“We are deeply shocked that Hamid Kamali bin Haydara has been sentenced to death purely on the grounds of his religion,” the experts said in a joint statement. “Furthermore, based on the information we have received, we believe that his sentencing on 2 January, and the whole judicial process against him, did not fulfil the basic guarantees of a fair trial and due process.
“This persecution of the Bahá’ís cannot continue. It is unacceptable for the Yemeni Government and the de facto authorities in Sana’a to target anyone based on religion or belief, especially those belonging to religious minorities.
“The court’s order to seize all Mr. Haydara’s assets and close Bahá’í Assemblies in Yemen should also be quashed,” added the experts.
Mr. Haydara was charged with “compromising the independence of the Republic of Yemen”. He was also accused of spreading the Bahá’í faith in the country. He has been held in the National Security Prison in Sana’a since his arrest on 3 December 2013.
A number of trials against Mr. Haydara, including the one during which the death sentence was imposed, took place without him being present, and his lawyer was not given the opportunity to contest the evidence presented against him.
The UN human rights experts said they were disappointed that the Yemeni Government and the de facto authorities had failed to respond to their concerns about the recurring harassment, arbitrary arrests and detention of the Bahá’ís since 2014.
“The right to life and the right to freedom of conscience, thought, religion or belief cannot be taken away from people, regardless of the circumstances,” the experts said.
*The UN experts: *The UN experts: Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, current Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Mr. Diego García-Sayán,Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mr. Fernand de Varennes RP, Doyen,Special Rapporteur on minority issues and Mr. Ahmed Shaheed,Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.
Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, country page: Yemen
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