The United States is deeply concerned by the harassment and detention of Baha’is by the Houthis in Sana’a, Yemen. The Houthis have targeted the Baha’i community in inflammatory speech along with a wave of detentions, “court summons,” and punishment without a fair or transparent legal process. These actions over the past year indicate a persistent pattern of mistreatment of Baha’is in Yemen. These actions appear to be an effort to pressure Yemeni Baha’is to recant their faith.
Recent actions and rhetoric by Houthi leaders exemplify the vilification and oppression of the Baha’is in Yemen. In a televised speech broadcast in March to a wide audience, Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi denounced the Baha’i faith, calling Baha’is “satanic” and alleging that they are at war against Islam. Further, since mid-2017, Houthi leaders have repeatedly harassed and detained dozens of Baha’is for their faith. After four years of imprisonment, Hamed bin Haydara, a Baha’i community member, was sentenced to public execution in Sana’a on January 2, 2018.
We call on the Houthis to end their unacceptable treatment of Baha’is and call on them to allow the Baha’i community to practice their religion without fear of intimidation or reprisals.