US State Department Condemns Houthi Persecution of Yemeni Baha’is

Washington, D.C., April 23, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On April 22nd, the US State Department issued a statement through its spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, voicing deep concern over “credible reports that the Houthis continue to severely mistreat, arbitrarily detain, and torture Baha’is in Yemen.”

“This persistent pattern of vilification, oppression, and mistreatment by the Houthis of Baha’is in Yemen must end,” added Ms. Ortagus.

Though dozens of Baha’is have been targeted by the Houthi authorities, the statement drew particular attention to the case of Hamed bin Haydara, a Baha’i who was sentenced to death in January 2018 on charges of alleged espionage and apostasy. Amnesty International, among other human rights organizations and media outlets, has decried Mr. Haydara’s sentence as unjust and motivated by religious persecution.

“We are heartened that the State Department has chosen to highlight this egregious case of religious persecution,” said Mr. Anthony Vance, Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Baha’is of the US. “Yemen is in the midst of a horrific humanitarian crisis, and its people are crying for food, medical attention, and an end to the war—not for the harassment of a small peaceful religious minority.”

“We ask the Houthi authorities to release Mr. Haydara immediately and drop the unjust charges against him and all other Baha’is.”

Mr. Haydara’s next court date has been set for April 30th.


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