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UN rights experts urge Houthis to release Baha’i prisoners in Yemen immediately

Published: Updated:

A group of UN human rights experts is calling for the Houthis in Yemen to release people of the Baha’i faith immediately and unconditionally after the Iranian-backed militia pardoned Baha’i prisoner of conscience Hamid bin Haydara.

“We are however surprised and dismayed that following the pardoning and release order, the judicial authorities are imposing conditions such as commercial bond for the release of the five Baha’is currently on trial,” the experts said in a statement released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“We strongly recommend against any rollback of the official decision to pardon and release which was communicated unequivocally. This would violate the fundamental rights of those affected,” the experts added.

Hamid bin Haydara pictured in an undated photo. (Supplied)
Hamid bin Haydara pictured in an undated photo. (Supplied)

The Houthi militia last month said it had pardoned Haydara and five other people of the Baha’i faith but has still been holding them ever since the ruling was passed.

The Houthis are allied with Iran’s Shia clerical regime, which restricts the rights of Baha’i religion. Several thousand Baha’is are estimated to still live in Yemen. Among them is Haydara, who was sentenced in 2018 to execution with appeals in his case under review.

The Iranian-backed militia group has charged the Baha’is of apostasy and espionage.

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