Houthi Detention of Baha’i Leader Hamed bin Haydara

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Source: U.S. Department of State

Press Statement
Morgan Ortagus
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 22, 2019

We are deeply concerned about credible reports that the Houthis continue to severely mistreat, arbitrarily detain, and torture Baha’is in Yemen. Imprisoned since 2013, prominent Baha’i leader Hamed bin Haydara was sentenced to death on unconfirmed charges of alleged espionage and apostasy in January 2018. The Houthis have refused to provide the evidence against him or release him, and most recently refused to rule on an appeal in his case. While detained, Hamed bin Haydara has reportedly endured physical and psychological torture. The Houthis have targeted dozens of Baha’is with charges similar to those imposed on Hamed bin Haydara and other unfounded charges related to religious affiliation. This persistent pattern of vilification, oppression, and mistreatment by the Houthis of Baha’is in Yemen must end.

Baha’is face daily discrimination and persecution as they seek to practice their faith in Yemen and elsewhere around the world. Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right and a source of stability for all countries. Every person around the world should be free to practice their religion without fear of intimidation or reprisals.

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