Germany Demands Release of Baha’is in Yemen

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Date: 9/27/2018

Translation by Iran Press Watch

Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid expressed her concern regarding the persecution of Baha’is in Yemen during a UN General Assembly session and demanded release of more than 20 Baha’is in Houthi custody.

On Wednesday September 26, during a UN General Assembly session in New York, Bärbel Kofler, Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, made a statement pointing to the arrests of more than 20 Baha’is in Yemen. In Kofler’s words, in mid-September Houthi authorities brought charges against these Baha’is during a court hearing. On behalf of the German government, Kofler demanded the release of these Baha’is.

According to Kofler, pursuit of political activists and members of religious minorities, initiated at the beginning of the internal war in Yemen, has significantly increased.

The United Kingdom has also recently expressed concern over the collective trial of these Baha’is being held in Sana’a, Yemen. Tarek Mahmoud Ahmad, the Special Representative of the Government on the Freedom of Religion and Belief, issued a statement on this subject and expressed that UK is collaborating with its partners to convey the concern about the fate of these Baha’is directly to the Houthi leaders and to pressure Houthis for their release.

According to the reports, eight women and one child are among Baha’is arrested and they all have been sentenced with charges that most likely can put them in the imminent danger of the death penalty.

On September 18, Amnesty International, calling these trials unjust, warned against the imminent danger of the death penalty for these Baha’is. Lina Maloof, Director of the Middle East Amnesty International, issue the following statement:

“This group that includes a junior youth girl, is accused of many crimes such as spying for foreign governments and for some of these charges, the death penalty is considered. Houthi authorities must stop these false accusations, release those who have been arbitrarily arrested, and stop misuse of the judicial system for suppressing the freedom of belief and for silencing the political critics, activists, and Baha’is and other minorities.”

On September 18, in a statement regarding the accusations made against the arrested Baha’is in Yemen, The Baha’i International Community expressed its concern and declared that the sentences had “religious motivation”.

It was said in the same statement that the initial trial session was held without prisoners’ prior knowledge and absence of their lawyers, and only at the presence of a judge, prosecutor, and other court staff.

The second trial session was assigned for September 29.


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