Baha’is In Yemen Still Detained

Sadly it is not just in Iran that Baha’is are being persecuted for their beliefs- three innocent Baha’is have been detained in Yemen for over a year now.

A source close to the community, who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitive subject matter, said that he we was concerned about the possibility of the government accusing three of the Baha’is of proselytizing their religion in the country, which is against Yemeni law.

Human right activist and lawyer Khaled Al-Anesi, who represents the arrested Baha’i practitioners, said that the Yemeni security has not yet accused any of them of anything and that this renders their jailing illegal. It is forbidden in Yemeni law to hold prisoners without charges, though it is regularly practiced in the country regardless of this law. “The lawyers are not even allowed to meet with the four prisoners or study their files to know the accusations [against them],” said Al-Anesi.

Al-Anesi did not exclude of possibility of the detainees’ deportation without trial. “It is not the first time that the Yemeni government would deport or hand over people to other governments under the guise of military cooperation or the war on terrorism, and then these people can be subjected to maltreatment. Such procedure is against international law and human rights,” said Al-Anisi.

He also warned of the possibility of breaching international law by deporting detainees without going through the proper legal measures to guarantee their safety. “Yemen may face international disapproval, and there may be international punishments imposed if it [Yemen] keeps breaching international law,” he added.

The three Baha’is of Iranian origin, Zia’u’llah Pourahmari, Keyvan Qadari, and Behrooz Rohani, were arrested in Sana’a, on the night of June 20, 2008. A fourth Baha’i, Sayfi Ibrahim Sayfi, was also arrested around the same time and faces the possibility of deportation to Iraq.

According to the source close to the group, the men were arrested and taken to the national security headquarters’ prison where they spent 40 days – most of the time in isolated cells – before being sent to Sana’a General Investigation Department.



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