On May 25, armed Huthi forces stormed a peaceful gathering of Baha’is in Sana’a, Yemen. They detained and forcibly disappeared 17 individuals, including five women. Following international pressure, six people have since been released – one man and three women in June, and two men in July.
However, 11 individuals – nine men and two women – remain in Huthi custody and their whereabouts still unknown. They are at risk of further violations including torture and other ill-treatment or even death at the hands of Huthi authorities. They must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Here’s what you can do:
Write to Huthi de facto authorities urging them to:
- Urgently disclose the fate and whereabouts of the 11 Baha’i detainees in their custody and to immediately and unconditionally release them.
- End all forms of discrimination and persecution of the Baha’i minority and all others who are targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of religion and belief.
Spokesperson for the Huthi de facto authorities
Salutation: Dear Mohamed Abdelsalam,
His Excellency Jamal Abdullah Yahya AL-SALLAL
Embassy of the Republic of Yemen
54 Chamberlain Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1S 1V9
Tel: (613) 729-6627 Fax: (613) 729-8915
Since 2015, Amnesty International has documented the situation of 82 members of the Baha’i community in Yemen who have been detained by the Huthi de facto authorities. They have been subjected to enforced disappearance, torture, incommunicado detention or denied the right to a fair trial.
Five Baha’is arrested in 2016, were held without charge or trial and without any means to challenge their detention for over two years. They were eventually charged in September 2018 with various serious offences including espionage for foreign states, some of which can carry the death penalty.
Their trial was part of a mass trial involving 24 Baha’is in total – the other 19 were charged in absentia, including the teenage daughter of a Baha’i detainee. The Huthi de facto authorities ordered the release of all Baha’i prisoners in 2020 on the condition of their exile from the country. However, the charges against the 24 Baha’is have not been lifted.
A Baha’i prisoner of conscience, Hamid Haydara, was released in 2020 after his initial arrest in 2013. He was sentenced to death in 2018, and then pardoned in 2020. Amnesty International raised its concerns with the Huthi de facto authorities regarding the basis for his detention, as well as the deeply-flawed legal proceedings in his case, including prolonged pre-trial detention, undue delays in his trial, torture and other ill-treatment, and lack of access to counsel during his interrogations.
All parties to the armed conflict taking place in Yemen, including the Huthi forces, the internationally recognized government, the Sothern Transitional Council, Saudi Arabia led coalition and UAE-backed Yemeni forces have committed crimes under international law and human rights violations, including wilful killings, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, and unfair trials.