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Search for tag "Persecution, Yemen"

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2008 20 Jun The Bahá’is were also persecuted on account of their faith prior to the armed conflict under the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Four Bahá'ís were arrested in Sana'a on the accusation of proselytizing. The three Bahá’is of Iranian origin who were arrested are Mr. Zia'u'llah Pourahmari, Mr. Keyvan Qadari, and Mr. Mr. Behrooz Rohani . A fourth Bahá’i, Mr. Sayfi Ibrahim Sayfi, was also arrested and faces the possibility of deportation to Iraq. [BWNS651] Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; BWNS
2013 3 Dec Mr. Hamed Kamal Muhammad bin Haydara (sometimes referred to in the media as "Hamed Merza Kamali Serostani ") is arrested in al-Mukalla, capital of Hadramout province in eastern Yemen. It is suggested that he was arrested on the orders of Mr. Khaled al-Mawari, the Chief Prosecutor who was involved in the unwarranted arrest and detention of another member of the Yemeni Baha'i community. The family of Hamed bin Haydara had lived in Socotra since 1945, when his father arrived on the Yemeni island from Iran as a doctor under British colonial rule and was granted Yemeni citizenship.
The National security Office raided his home and seized laptops and documents. Reports indicated that he has been tortured (beaten and electrocuted).
According to Baha'i estimates, there are about 2,000 Baha'is in Yemen [BIC website, Reuters]
Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution
2014 3 Oct Hamed bin Haydara had been held at an undisclosed location since his arrest by National Security Forces on the 3rd of December, 2013. During this time he was held in prolonged solitary confinement, severely tortured and electrocuted and forced to sign documents while blindfolded. In September of 2014 NGOs discovered where he was detained and tortured and so the National Security was forced to relocate him to the Criminal Investigation Detention Centre in the Central Prison in Sana'a. [Defending Bahá'í Rights facebook page] Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; Hamed bin Haydara
2015 18 Jan The first trial hearing of Hamed bin Haydara was held. Legal and human rights NGOs witnessed tampering and interference on the part of the prosecution. The prosecutor, Rajeh Zayed, threatened to detain and execute Bahá'ís. More were arrested. [Defending Bahá'í Rights facebook page] Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Hamed bin Haydara
2016 25 Apr Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara, who has been imprisoned without trial since December 2013, was again brought to court for a hearing but the trial was again postponed, this time to 1 August 2017. Reports indicate that he has been sent to solitary confinement in the National Security Prison on the orders of Mr. Rajeh Zayed, the prosecutor who has caused the delays which have kept him in jail for more than three years and who has been mainly responsible for the arrest and persecution of Baha’is in Yemen. Mr. Rajeh Zayed also recently said he plans to delay Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara’s court hearings and treatment until he “dies in jail.” He is suffering from serious health conditions that require proper medical attention. He stands accused of ‘compromising the independence of the Republic of Yemen’, including spreading the Bahá’í faith in the Republic of Yemen as well as "apostasy" (He has been a Bahá'í from birth.) and “insulting Islam” . [BIC 30 Apr 2017] [BWNS1285] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Human rights
2016 10 Aug Armed, officers masked in balaclavas from Yemen’s National Security Bureau (NSB) intelligence agency, which works hand in hand with the armed Houthi authorities, (also knowns as Ansar Allah) stormed a Bahá’í youth educational workshop in Sana’a. The event was part of a nine day, cross country moral and educational program for Bahá’í youth organized by the Baha’i-run Nida Foundation for Development. Sixty-five people were arrested including 14 women and six people under 18 without an arrest warrant. Half were Baha'is and, currently, it is believed some fourteen remain in prison, including young mothers. Further arrests were carried out later and within a week all but 10 of those who had been incarcerated had been released.
Among those detained are Nadim Tawfiq Al-Sakkaf, (British Council’s country manager in Yemen), his brother Nader Tawfiq Al-Sakkaf and Kaiwan Mohamed Ali Qadri. [UN Human Rights 4 Oct 2016, BWNS1118, publicaffairs.bahai.us, UN Human Rights, Defending Bahá'í Rights facebook page]
Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; Youth; BWNS
2016. 27 Nov Nadim al-Sakkaf and his brother Nader, who were detained from August 10th, are unexpectedly released from prison in Sana'a. Their release, it is believed, was in no small part due to the relentless advocacy of their wives Ruhiyeh al-Sakkaf and Nafheh al-Sakkaf. Their friend Kaiwan Mohamed Ali Qadri, who was arrested in the same raid, remains in custody. [Religion News Service 20161129]

Photos of the four can be found on the same page.

Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution
2017 19 Apr Houthi-Saleh political security officers arrested Walid Ayyash, Mahmood Humaid, and Badi'u'llah Sanai, all members of the Baha’i community, at a checkpoint near the city border of Hudiedah. Sanai was released one week later, but was re-arrested in May. All three remain detained, their whereabouts unknown. [UN News Centre 22 May 2017]

In total over 25 Baha’is, including many prominent members of the Baha’i community who assist with organization of community affairs at the national level were arrested around the time. In October it was reported that eight Baha’is were still detained but the place of detention was not known. [BWNS1215]

Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; BWNS
2017 25 Apr The formation of the human rights organization, "The Yemeni Initiative for Defending Baha’i Rights". [facebook page] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
2017 15 May Hundreds of Yemenis gathered in front of the Criminal Prosecution building in the capital city of Sana'a. They were denouncing the arrest of Yemeni citizens of the Baha’i faith and calling for their release. The demonstrations were not led by the usual human rights crew but by tribal leaders of some of the most influential tribes in the country, prominently that of the Bani Mattar.

What brought the tribes out was the arrest of Sheikh Walid Saleh Ayyash, who has the distinction of being both a prominent tribal figure and one of the 2,000 or so Yemenis who practice the Baha’i faith. It was Ayyash’s faith that led to his arrest on April 19, as he was driving from the city of Ibb to the port of Hudaydah. Along with another Baha’i who was in the car, Ayyash was arrested by Houthi forces and transferred to the Hudaydah prison. A statement by the tribal leaders calls Ayash “a distinguished personality among the Arab tribes … well-known for his integrity and wisdom, for his love, loyalty and devotion to his country, for his tolerance and respect for the government and the law.” The leaders had previously met with Khalid Al-Mawari, the Houthi government’s Chief of Special Criminal Prosecution. He had promised them that Ayyash would be transferred to Sanaa. When that failed to happen, they organized the demonstration. [TRACKPERSIA 25 Aug 2017]

Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
2017 Sep Arrests of Baha’is in Yemen has drawn international censure which led to a United Nations resolution, Titled “Human Rights, Technical Assistance and Capacity-building in Yemen”. It was introduced by Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group and supported by the entire UN Human Rights Council—calling for the immediate release of all Baha’i detainees. The Council is the principal human rights body at the UN and is composed of 47 members who are elected by the General Assembly based on equitable geographic distribution.

At the time of the resolution there were seven Baha’is in prison in Yemen, most of whom are held in undisclosed locations and one of which has been detained for nearly four years due to repeatedly postponed court-hearings. Arrest warrants had been issued for over a dozen others, while a number of families had been forced to leave their homes. Developments in Yemen indicated that the authorities’ prosecution of individuals had broadened in scope to be against the Baha’i community in general and that efforts were being made to turn public opinion against all of the Baha’is under the premise that they are secretly plotting to stir unrest in Yemen.

The resolution establishes a Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts tasked with monitoring and reporting on the situation on human rights in Yemen. It is also mandated to carry out a comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights in the country. [BIC News 3 October 2017, UN Human Rights Council – 36th Session, Agenda Item 10]

Geneva; Switzerland; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution; United Nations; Human Rights
2017 22 Oct Yemeni security forces raided a Baha’i gathering in Sana’a opening fire on the small group of people assembled to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah. The attack occurred in the family home of prominent tribal leader Walid Ayyash, who had been abducted in April and whose whereabouts were unknown. The attackers were reportedly in four cars and an armored vehicle which they used to break down the front door of the house. They arrested Mr. Ayyash’s brother, Akram Ayyash.
This event proved unequivocally the extent of Iran’s role in the persecution of the Baha’is in Yemen, especially in Sana’a, which is under the control of Iranian-backed militias. Similar attacks occurred in Iran during the period of celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Bahá'úlláh. [BWNS1215]
Sanaa; Yemen; Iran Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Bahaullah, Birth of; BWNS; Walid Ayyash
2018 2 Jan The Specialized Criminal Court of the Houthi militia in Yemen have sentenced 52 year-old detainee Hammed bin Haidara to death on the backdrop of his Bahá'í beliefs, allegedly for collaborating with Israel and forging official documents. He had been tortured and ill-treated in custody since being incarcerated in December of 2013. The judgment issued by the Houthi-controlled Criminal Court in Sana'a also confiscated the funds of Hammed bin Haidara and shut all Bahá'í centres in the country. The persecution of Bahá'ís in the area controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia reflected the pattern of persecution in Iran.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) estimated that the number of Bahá'ís in Yemen was about 2,000 people in several Yemeni provinces. [Al Arabiya English 3 January, 2018, BIC 5 January, 2018, Amnesty International 28 April, 2017, Defending Bahá'í Rights facebook page]
  • "The Yemini Initiative for Defending Bahá'í Rights", a activist group launched in April of 2017, has gained tens of thousands of followers. Prominent media groups in the Arab world have publicized the case. In addition to Mr bin Haidara there were six other Bahá'ís in prison in Sana'a. [BWNS1232]
Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Court cases; Human rights; BWNS
2018 23 Mar Sayyid Abdul-Malik Badreddin Al-Houthi, the Secretary-General of Yemen’s Shia political party Ansar Allah, accused Baha’is of seeking to create disunity among Muslims. In a televised speech broadcast to a wide audience within and outside of Yemen, he vehemently vilified and denounced the Baha’i Faith, further intensifying the ongoing persecution of the Baha’is in that country. It was reported that the Houthis have also launched a social media campaign against Baha’is. "The Yemeni Initiative for Defending Baha’i Rights", a human rights organization, said in a Facebook post that Al-Houthi’s incitement coincided with incitements against Ahmadis, Christians, intellectuals, scientists, and activists, as well as “a number of Islamic doctrines.” [Conatus News 28 March, 2018] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights; Sayyid Abdul-Malik Badreddin Al-Houthi,
2018 1 Apr The launch of a fierce campaign of hatred against members of the Bahá'í Faith, as well as other against peaceful religious minorities was proclaimed by Houthi activist Ahmad Ayed Ahmed in a public Tweet. The campaign coincided with the threats made by the leader of Ansaruallah, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, against the Baha’is, Ahmadis, Christians and a number of Islamic sects during his Friday speech on the occasion of Rajab Friday. This marks a clear call for a sectarian war against minorities and specifically the Bahá'í’s and parallels the already ongoing systematic attack against Bahá'ís including arbitrary arrests, persecution, and torture. This marks a new stage in Houthi persecution, until now they had exercised a degree of “political dissimulation” to conceal their direct involvement, however, since al-Houthi’s public speech, Houthis are now openly spearheading as well as escalating the systematic persecution of Baha’is. [Iran Press Watch 1 April, 2018] Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
2018 15 Sep Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi authorities held a court hearing that targeted some 20 Baha’is, most in absentia, with a string of baseless charges which include espionage and apostasy. The charges were primarily made against individuals who held administrative roles in the Baha’i community but extend to other Yemeni Baha’is including a teenage girl. In a subsequent hearing on September 29, the judge the prosecutor to publish the names of the accused in a newspaper and ordered their properties frozen. The judge in the case was Abdu Ismail Hassan Rajeh, the same judge who presided over Mr. Haydara's in January of 2018. Sanaa; Yemen Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution, Court cases; Court cases; Human rights; BWNS
2018 29 Sep In the second court hearing presided over by judge Abdu Ismail Hassan Rajeh three additional Bahá'ís were sentenced to death. 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 to be held in a month and ten days.

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. [Iran Press Watch 4 October, 2018]

Sanaa; Yemen United Nations; Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Human rights
 
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