GENEVA: Despite a significant humanitarian crisis and mounting health concerns in Yemen, an appeals court in Sana’a yesterday upheld a religiously-motivated death sentence against Hamed bin Haydara, a Baha’i imprisoned since 2013.
After a series of sham trials spanning four years, Mr. Haydara was sentenced to public execution in 2018. The same court verdict also called for the dissolution of Baha’i institutions and the confiscation of any assets belonging to Mr. Haydara. An appeals process then began, dragging on over the course of 18 hearings.
“The Baha’i International Community unequivocally condemns the death sentence against Mr. Haydara,” said Ms. Diane Ala’i, Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva. “At a time when the international community is battling a global health crisis, it is incomprehensible that the authorities in Sana’a have upheld a death sentence against an innocent individual solely because of his beliefs instead of focusing on safeguarding the population, including Baha’is.”
He suffered brutal forms of torture
Mr. Haydara was arbitrarily arrested at his place of work in December 2013 because of his belief in the Baha’i Faith. Hiscase has been notable for its complete lack of due process since his arrest. Not only did he spend months in prison without a hearing, he suffered brutal forms of torture including beatings, electrocutions, and intense psychological abuse. Mr. Haydara was repeatedly denied treatment for medical conditions that developed as a result of the torture he experienced. He was also forced to sign documents while blindfolded, and, for several months, was denied visitors, including his wife and daughters. Furthermore, he was prevented from attending the lower court hearing when his sentence was issued.
Prosecuted over twenty members of the Baha’i community in Yemen
“The Baha’i International Community is utterly dismayed at this outrageous verdict and it calls on the court and the Houthi authorities to take immediate action to overturn this unjust sentence.” Since 2017, Houthi authorities have targeted and prosecuted over twenty members of the Baha’i community in Yemen, including members of the Baha’i administration. Mr. Haydara is one of six Baha’is currently imprisoned in Sana’a for their beliefs.