Reports on the Situation in Yemen

In recent years, the Baha'i community of Yemen has been facing persecution by the authorities in Sana’a, Yemen. Incidents have included arrests, arbitrary detentions, and imprisonments. This page chronicles the situation facing Baha’is there, with updates on the latest incidents. For background, click here.

Summary and latest updates

Last updated 18 January 2018

Yememi Initiative for Defending Baha'i Rights issues statement alleging manipulation of court documents in Bin Haydara death sentence case

9 January 2018 – The Yemeni Initiative for Defending Baha'i Rights has issued a statement expressing concern over the possible manipulation of court documents. The statement says, for example, that Mr. Bin Haydara and his lawyers have yet to receive the official pronouncement of his death sentence. [Statement in Arabic.]

Outcry over appalling death sentence of Yemeni Baha'i

9 January 2018 - Over 100 known activists, lawyers, and leaders of thought have raised their voices over the past week in protest of the ordered death sentence of Yemeni Baha’i Hamed bin Haydara, unjustly imprisoned four years ago for his religious beliefs. Read more...

Yemeni Baha’i receives death sentence as persecution escalates

5 January 2018 - On 2 January 2018, the Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a, Yemen, issued a ruling unprecedented in the persecution of the Baha’is in Yemen. Sentencing Mr. Hamed bin Haydara to death due to his religious beliefs, the judge furthermore called for the dissolution of all Baha’i Assemblies, thereby placing other Baha’i prisoners as well as the Baha’i community as a whole in imminent danger. Read more...

Attacks in Yemen and Iran coincide with bicentenary period

23 October 2017 -  Yemeni security forces raided a Baha’i gathering in Sana’a yesterday, opening fire on the small group of people assembled to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah. The attack occurred in the family home of prominent tribal leader Walid Ayyash, who was abducted in April and whose whereabouts are currently unknown. The attackers were reportedly in four cars and an armored vehicle, which they used to break down the front door of the house. They arrested Mr. Ayyash’s brother, Akram Ayyash. Read more...

BIC press release on Unprecedented UN resolution demands end to harassment of Baha'is in Yemen

3 October 2017 - A United Nations (UN) resolution regarding the situation in Yemen, introduced by Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group and supported by the entire membership of the UN Human Rights Council, called for the release of all Baha’i detainees in the country.

(English) (Arabic) (Persian)

BIC press release on Special Rapporteur’s statement

29 May 2017 - The Baha’i International Community has issued a press release on the statement of Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, on the situation in Yemen. (English) (Arabic) (Persian)

Yemeni Baha'i arrested

24 May 2017 – On 23 May, around 11am, Wael Al-Arieghie, a Yemeni Baha’i, was arrested by the authorities in a crowded street in Sana’a.  It is understood that Mr. Al-Arieghie was with a friend who described the circumstances of the arrest as a kidnapping.  This friend reported that a vehicle was stopped next to both of them, and some individuals in the car asked them if they had a light for cigarettes. Then, Mr. Al-Arieghie was forced into the vehicle while his friend managed to escape.

UN expert on religious freedom calls for end to persecution of Baha’is in Sana'a.

22 May 2017 – The UN’s top expert on religious freedom said today that the persecution of Baha’is in Sana’a, Yemen, follows the pattern of the persecution of Baha’is in Iran – and that it must stop. “The recent escalation in the persistent pattern of persecution of the Baha’i community in Sana’a mirrors the persecution suffered by the Baha’is living in Iran,” said Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. “Many Yemeni Baha’i families in Sana’a have left their homes and live in constant fear,” he warned. To read Dr. Shaheed's full statement click here: (English) (Arabic) (Persian)

Statement by tribal leaders

20 May 2017 – Yemeni leaders, elders, and dignitaries of the Bani Mattar Mekhlaf Ayyash tribe issued a statement regarding the events of 15 May 2017 in front of the Special Criminal Prosecution building in Sana’a and the attack on the peaceful procession there. They called for the immediate release of Walid Ayyash and an investigation into the actions of prosecutor Rajeh Zayed. Click here to read the statement: (English) (Arabic) (Persian)

Baha’i prisoner Walid Ayyash is ill

20 May 2017 – Mr. Walid Ayyash, Baha’i and Yemeni tribal leader, is reportedly not feeling well; he has a very high fever and the authorities are not allowing doctors to visit him. There is added concern because of the outbreak of cholera and the poor conditions in jails.

Cholera outbreak threatens prisoners in Yemen

18 May 2017 – Sources within Yemen indicate that there were recently ten cases of cholera reported in Sana'a Central Prison and all those infected were receiving treatment and responding well to medication.  No cases have yet been reported from the rest of the prisons in Yemen, but the overall hygiene situation in Sana'a and Hodeydah is alarming as the spread of cholera is expected unless there is immediate intervention.

Tribal leaders stand in solidarity with Yemeni Baha's

17 May 2017 — Hundreds of Yemenis—led by tribal leaders and human rights activists—gathered on Monday morning, 15 May 2017, to denounce the recent call for the arrests of several Yemeni Baha'is and to demand their immediate release. Read more . . .

Mr. Hamid Bin Haydara sent to solitary confinement

30 April 2017 – In the case of Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara, reports now confirm that he has been sent to solitary confinement on the orders of Mr. Rajeh Zayed, the prosecutor who has been mainly responsible for the arrest and persecution of Baha’is in Yemen. On 25 April, Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara was again brought to court for a hearing but the trial was again postponed, this time to 1 August 2017. Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara has been imprisoned without trial since December 2013. Mr. Rajeh Zayed is responsible for the delays in Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara’s court hearings, delays which have kept him in jail for more than three years.  Mr. Rajeh Zayed has also refused to allow him to receive medical treatment for injuries caused by torture and his long imprisonment. Mr. Rajeh Zayed also recently said he plans to delay Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara’s court hearings and treatment until he “dies in jail.”  Click here for the history of Mr. Hamed Bin Haydara's case.

Arrest orders issued for Baha'is in Yemen

During the week of 17 April 2017, orders for the arrest of at least 25 Baha’is were issued by certain authorities in Sana’a, Yemen. One Baha’i was arrested and immediately released. Two more were arrested the next day and their whereabouts are presently unknown. Reports indicate the influence of Iranian authorities is behind such incidents in Yemen. As well, the nature of the charges them, which are utterly baseless, bears striking resemblance to kind of false charges leveled against Baha’is in Iran. Read more . . .

Sixty Baha'is and friends arrested

10 August 2016 – Baha’is and their friends were arrested at a conference in Sana’a. While many were gradually released over the course of several weeks, three individuals were held through the end of November, when two more were released. A third individual, Mr. Kaiwan Mohamed Ali Qaderi, currently remains in prison. Read more . . .