NEW YORK—30 September 2018—The sham trial of more than 20 Baha’is in Yemen falsely accused of espionage and apostasy continued on 29 September.
The second court hearing in Houthi controlled Sana’a was presided over by judge Abdu Ismail Hassan Rajeh, who sentenced a Baha’i in Yemen to public execution earlier this year. It is reported that the judge sentenced three other individuals to death before the court hearing of the Baha’is.
Five of the indicted Baha’is were in attendance at the court where the judge requested the prosecutor to publish the names of 19 others indicted in a newspaper, further endangering the lives of the Yemeni Baha’i community.
The judge also ordered that all of the properties belonging to the Baha’is indicted be frozen until the court verdict is issued. He furthermore objected to a request by the lawyer for the five to be released on bail and deferred any such decision to the next hearing in a month and ten days.
“We have every reason to be concerned for the safety of those who have been falsely and maliciously accused under absurd pretexts,” said Diane Alai, Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.
“The charges brought against these innocent men and women for merely practicing their Faith endangers their lives and the life of the community.
“We once again urge the international community to condemn these baseless actions in the strongest possible terms and call for the immediate release of all detained Baha’is in Yemen.”
The religiously motivated charges has led to international condemnation by governments and international human rights organisations and has been widely covered by the media.
The actions undertaken by the Houthis were condemned in two recent United Nations resolutions, one of which called for the immediate release of all Baha’is detained in Yemen due to their religious beliefs and to cease any harassment they are subjected to.
The German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Dr. Baerbel Kofler, expressed deep concern regarding the persecution and recent prosecution of the Baha’is and called, on behalf of the German government, for the release of those detained.
Italian Foreign Minister, Enzo Milanesi expressed ‘serious concern’ over the accusations while Amnesty International called them ‘trumped up charges and flagrantly unfair proceedings.’
An open letter by more than 20 prominent lawyers called for the release of imprisoned Baha’is in Yemen and the dropping of fabricated charges against others recently charged.
In 2016, over 60 women, men and children participating in an educational gathering organized by Baha’is were arrested as part of a mass crackdown on the religious community.
Hamed Bin Haydara, a member of the Yemeni Baha’i Community, detained since 2013, was sentenced to public execution for his faith earlier this year. Mr Haydara is one of six Baha’is imprisoned in the country for practicing their faith.
Following a protracted court case and a cruel four-year imprisonment, a final court hearing was held while the defendant was prevented from attending and was handed the death sentence.
In a televised speech broadcast in March of this year to a wide audience within and outside of Yemen, the leader of the Houthis, Abdel Malik al Houthi vehemently vilified and denounced the Baha’i Faith, further intensifying the ongoing persecution of the Baha’is in that country.
Arabic translation here.
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