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Death Sentence to Yemeni Citizen on Charges of his Religion Affiliation is Catastrophic and Should be Released


SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties, denounced sentence of death and confiscation by the Houthis-controlled Specialized Penal Court in Sana’a, on Monday 2 January 2018, on Yemeni citizen Hamid Haidar, on charges related to his beliefs, following four years of detention, where he was subjected to torture, mistreatment and solitary confinement. SAM confirmed that “issuing death sentence for different religion or sect is catastrophic on public rights and freedoms in Yemen and opens the door wide for revenge under religious allegations”

SAM, based in Geneva, stated in a press release today that Haidar, of Baha’i faith, was detained in 2013 by National Security, during Hadi government term, for alleged collaboration with Iran, and in 2015, following Houthis control, Haidar was referred to the penal court, for spying with Israel, and communicating with the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing institution of the Bahá’í Faith, based in Haifa, Palestine.

SAM said that the Prosecutor-General charged Haidar according to the Yemeni Penal Code, with committing acts that impact the Republic of Yemen independence and unity, abuse of Islam and work for a foreign country.

Within this context, spokesperson of Baha’i University in Yemen, Abdullah Al-Ulafi, said “Haidar’s attorney has appealed the ruling and refuted it”, “the ruling contradicts with article 6 of the Yemeni constitution that obligates the state to realize the UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Arab League Chart and the recognized rules of the international law” he added.

Members of Baha’i faith in Yemen are 1000 people, SAM noted, however, they’ve been persecuted by the National Security since 2008, when a group of Baha’is, holder of Iran passports, were detained for 120 days, and their religious publications were seized,

In statement by a Baha’i member on Haidar case said “following Haidar arrest, an extremist group looted his house in Mukalla, and his salary in Belhaf company was suspended”, “during his detention, Haidar was tortured, abused and sustained injuries that impaired his hearing and ability to walk, his family was harassed and humiliated, by the members of the Specialized Penal Prosecution in Sana’a” he added.

SAM added that persecution of Baha’i members escalated following Houthis control of power in Sana’a, and become a systematic approach targeting all Baha’i Faith members in the country, although most of them are of Yemeni origin.

SAM confirmed that 6 Baha’is were detained in the prisons without any charges, also the ruling, first of its kind, on Haidar included the closure of all their centres in Yemen, and might intimidate religious minorities in Yemen, and clearly contradict with the human rights.

SAM indicated that charges against Haidar for convicting Baha’i Faith violate the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, that Yemen has ratified in 1987, where article 18 state that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others”.

SAM organization called Houthis group to cease persecution and prosecuting of people for their religious beliefs, political all sectarian affiliation, stressing on the need to invalidate the death ruling on Haidar, release all detainees on the ground of practicing their religious rituals or political affiliation.

SAM called for granting Yemeni citizens their freedom of practicing their ritual and sectarian beliefs, according to the international human rights law, and to provide a tolerant environment that respects all beliefs and affiliations, and to protect citizens’ right in the freedom of expression.

SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties

4 January 2018