Number of Baha’i Arrests in Yemen this Month are Alarming

Human Rights Organization has asked the Yemeni government to stop the persecution of Baha’i Faith.

The people belonging to the Baha'i community have been facing harassment from the Yemeni authorities for some time now. The latest is an order to arrest about 25 Baha'is. The Baha’is are being accused by the authorities of showing kindness to people of different faiths[/tweetit] to attract them to the Baha'i faith.

Number of Baha’i Arrests in Yemen this Month are Alarming[/tweetthis]

A mass arrest took place in the month of August 2016. About 60 individuals, comprising of 22 women and 38 men, were arrested. The Yemeni authorities' attitude towards them were like they were tackling a lethal terrorist group. The National Security Office even dealt harshly towards the children who had accompanied their parents to the meeting. Among those arrested, 50 people were released. The remaining ten Baha'i, consisting of three women and seven men, were arrested when armed soldiers raided a Baha'i function. The masked soldiers arrested not only Baha'is but also people of other religions who had arrived in Sanaa to attend a nine-day duration meeting for the youth.

All the arrested Baha'is were eventually released (in a matter of days), except three. Two were released in November. However, one person, Keyvan Qadari, was not released. The 43-year old was held without charge, and was never brought in front of a judge or provided access to lawyers. The authorities even barred him from interacting with his family, the only exception being a solitary phone conversation that was allowed last September. After four months, the Human Rights Watch demanded that the Yemeni authorities in the capital city of Sanaa unconditionally and immediately release Qadari.

The human rights organization has asked the Yemeni government to stop the persecution of those who belong to the Baha'i religious community. Members of the community have refused to take sides in the Yemeni civil war. They have tried to serve all individuals, regardless of which side they are on.

The Houthis, also called Ansar Allah, control Sanaa and big swathes of Yemen after it took over the areas in September 2015. The country is being administered by the “National Salvation Government.” The administration is a product of General People's Congress and Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former President of Yemen. There have been documented violations of human rights in the form of abusive and arbitrary detention of many people. Human rights organizations have urged the Yemeni authorities to release those who are held without cause.

It is not clear who is behind such arrests. If unconfirmed reports are to be believed, orders were issued by the chief prosecutor, Khaled al-Mawari. The arrests compelled a number of well-known Yemeni organizations and individuals to condemn such actions. Prominent signatories, including Arwa Othman, a human rights activist and a former Yemeni government minister, Abdu'l-Bari Taher, a respected journalist, along with the Quranis and Secularists for Peace Movement, have roundly criticized such actions. They have made a fervent appeal to the Yemeni Government to immediately release all individuals who remain incarcerated.


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