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USCIRF Commends Release of Religious Prisoner of Conscience Hamid Bin Haydara and 5 Other Baha’is in Yemen

USCIRF commends the Houthi authorities’ release of Religious Prisoner of Conscience Hamid bin Haydara along with five other detained members of the Baha’i community in Yemen. Charges against members of the Baha’i community remain in place despite their release.

Yemen Country Update

This country update reviews religious freedom violations across several communities in Yemen and recommends more proactive U.S. policy to preserving these freedoms. Since capturing the Yemeni capital Sana’a in 2014, the Houthis have harassed and threatened Sunni Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and members of other faith communities.  Many members of these communities have fled Yemen out of a fear for their lives. Baha’is remaining in Yemen are at a particularly elevated risk. Houthi authorities announced in March that all six detained members of the Baha’i community, including USCIRF religious prisoner of conscience Hamid bin Haydara, would be released. However, these prisoners remain incarcerated and at a high risk of contracting COVID-19.

USCIRF Raises Alarm Over Reports that Houthi Court in Yemen May Deport Baha’is

WASHINGTON DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is alarmed over reports that a Houthi court in Yemen may deport and confiscate the assets of its Baha’i citizens. A Houthi judge has called for an appraisal of the Baha’i community’s assets ahead of an October 15 court hearing for its leader, Hamid bin Haydara, who was adopted in 2018 by USCIRF Commissioner Andy Khawaja as part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoner of Conscience Project.

USCIRF Calls on Houthi Court in Yemen to Overturn Death Sentence for Religious Prisoner of Conscience Hamid bin Haydara

WASHINGTON, DC – Andy Khawaja, Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), today called on the Houthi appellate court to overturn the death sentence, to drop all charges, and to release religious prisoner of conscience Hamid bin Haydara at tomorrow’s hearing.

USCIRF Commissioner Andy Khawaja Adopts Yemeni Religious Prisoner of Conscience

WASHINGTON, DC – Andy Khawaja, Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), today announced his adoption of Hamid Kamal Mohammad bin Haydara, a Yemeni member of the Baha’i faith sentenced to death on charges that include attempting to convert Muslims, as part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project.

Hamid Kamal Mohammad bin Haydara

On December 3, 2013, authorities linked to the Houthi-run National Security Bureau arrested Hamad bin Haydara, a Yemeni Baha’i, while he was at work. On December 17, the authorities raided his home, confiscating documents and laptops. They detained him without charges and Haydara virtually disappeared until September 2, 2014, when his wife, Ilham Zara’i, was finally permitted to visit him. Read more about Hamed bin Haydara.

 

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