On May 25, 2023, armed Huthi forces stormed a peaceful gathering of Baha’is in Sana’a, Yemen. They detained and forcibly disappeared 17 individuals, among them five women. One individual has since been released but the other 16 remain in Huthi custody and their fate and whereabouts remain unknown.
The Baha’is are a religious minority in Yemen that have faced ongoing persecution in violation of their right to freedom of religion and belief at the hands of the Huthi de facto authorities. The 16 forcibly disappeared Baha’is are at risk of further violations at the hands of Huthi authorities, including torture and other ill-treatment. They must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Write to the Spokesperson of the Huthi de facto authorities urging them to:
- Urgently disclose the fate and whereabouts of the 16 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 and subjected to enforced disappearance, torture, incommunicado detention and 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 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 another 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 de facto Huthi 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 conflict, including the Huthi forces, the Yemeni government, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led coalition and UAE-backed Yemeni forces have carried out violations of international human rights law, including arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, and unfair trials.