The Bahá’í community of Ireland has joined a global campaign to save the life of an innocent man who has been condemned to die by public execution.
Hamid bin Haydara (52) is a member of the two thousand strong Bahá’í community of Yemen, and the death sentence imposed on him relates to his membership of the Bahá’í Faith. One charge accuses him of “…demonstrating high moral standards, through which he has won the confidence of his fellow citizens.”
“We are asking the Government, EU representatives and everyone who values justice to add their voices to the international efforts to save this man’s life,” said Patricia Rainsford, Coordinator of the Irish Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs, who added that time may be short. “We are calling on the authorities in Yemen to repeal the death sentence imposed on this man,” she said.
Since the Iran-backed Houthi faction took control of Yemen’s capital city Sana’a, a cultural campaign of ‘antagonism towards others’ has been promoted. This campaign is directed against Bahá’ís, Jews and other religious followers.
When Mr. Haydara was sentenced to death on 2 January, the local judge also called for the dissolution of all elected Baha’i institutions, placing the entire Baha’i community in imminent danger.
“Numerous reports clearly point to the insidious involvement of the Iranian authorities in Yemen’s persecution of the Baha’i community,” said Bani Dugal, Representative of the Baha’i International Community United Nations Office in New York.
This is a theme which has also been touched on by Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief who stated that the recent escalation in the persistent pattern of persecution of the Bahá’í community in Sana’a mirrors the persecution suffered by the Bahá’ís living in Iran. “Many Yemeni Bahá’í families in Sana’a have left their homes and live in constant fear,” warned Mr. Shaheed.
The plight of Mr. Haydara has also been highlighted by Amnesty International which said: “The Huthi authorities must immediately quash the death sentence against Hamid Haydara. He is a prisoner of conscience who has been tried on account of his conscientiously held beliefs and peaceful activities as a member of the Baha’i community.
“This sentence is the result of a fundamentally flawed process, including trumped up charges, an unfair trial and credible allegations that Hamid Haydara was tortured and ill-treated in custody. It is also part of a wider crackdown on critics, journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Baha’i community that is causing entire families to live in fear for their safety and the safety of their loved ones.”
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