Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (25 March), confirming the death sentence given to Baha’i Hamed bin Haydara in Yemen:
I am shocked by the recent news that the death sentence handed down to Baha’i Hamed bin Haydara, who has been imprisoned in Yemen for over six years, has been confirmed by the country’s highest court of appeal, making his execution an imminent possibility. There are doubts as to whether he was given a fair trial in accordance with the standards laid down in international law. Irrespective of this, the death penalty is an inhumane form of punishment which the German Government rejects under all circumstances.
The persecution of the Baha’i on the grounds of their faith must finally come to an end. In continuing to persecute the Baha’i, Yemen is violating the right to freedom of religion which it committed to protecting and respecting when it signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Hamed bin Haydara, a member of the Baha’i faith, was arrested in Yemen in December 2013. It is reported that he was forced into signing a confession, having been subjected to torture while in prison. Criminal charges were opened against Haydara in January 2015. He was accused, among other things, of espionage on behalf of Israel. He was sentenced to death on 2 January 2018. On 22 March 2020, Yemen’s highest court rejected Hamed bin Haydara’s appeal.
Since 2017, the Houthi authorities have conducted criminal proceedings against more than 20 further members of the Baha’i community in Yemen, including members of the Baha’i administrative bodies. Mr Haydara is one of six Baha’i who are currently imprisoned in Sana’a on the basis of their religious beliefs.