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Baha'i international community 'concerned' over safety of its members in Yemen

Baha'i international community 'concerned' over safety of its members in Yemen
The BIC is deeply concerned for the safety of all Baha'is in Yemen Image Credit: Flickr

The Baha'i International Community (BIC), an organisation representing Baha'is, has expressed deep concern over the safety of all its members in Yemen following a Houthi prosecutor's "baseless" accusations against one of its members, who has appealed against his death sentence. Hamed bin Haydara, detained since 2013, will face his appeal hearing on Tuesday in Houthi-controlled Sana'a.

The BIC is deeply concerned for the safety of all Baha'is in Yemen following the Houthi (an Islamic religious political armed movement) prosecutor's baseless accusations against a member of its community who is appealing his death sentence, a statement issued by them said. Following a series of sham trials, Haydara was sentenced to death in 2018. The court further called for the confiscation of all assets owned by Baha'is and the dissolution of Baha'i institutions.

"We appeal to the good conscience of the judge and trust that he will have high regard for justice and the rule of law, and therefore not give credence to prosecutor's absurd allegations," said Bani Dugal, Principal Representative, Baha'i International Community to the United Nations. Hundreds of Baha'is face persecution on the basis of their religion in Houthi-controlled areas, it said.

Despite calls by the international community to cease the persecution and release the Baha'i prisoners, the prosecutor has outlined a series of false and irrelevant accusations against Haydara, the Yemeni Baha'i community, and the Baha'i faith itself, the statement said. The prosecution alleges that the Baha'i faith, an independent world religion, was founded as a result of satanic thought and that Haydara was intending to form a "national homeland for the Baha'i faith" on the Yemeni island of Socotra, and it has even threatened Haydara's lawyer, who is not a Baha'i, it said.

In 2018, 24 Baha'is were falsely accused of apostasy and espionage by a court in Houthi-controlled Sana'a. Five of the 24 are currently imprisoned. Their case is being presided over by the same judge that sentenced Haydara to death.

The Baha'is of Yemen have long sought to contribute to the life of their country and their fellow citizens, the statement said.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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