US calls on Houthis to end Bahai mistreatment

The US urged Yemen's Houthis (Ansarallah) to end mistreatment of followers of the Bahai faith, as the community on Thursday (April 25th) criticized as "absurd" prosecutor's allegations against a Bahai sentenced to death, AFP reported.

The Bahai community said Hamed bin Haydara, who has been detained since 2013, will face an appeal hearing on Tuesday in Sanaa.

The US State Department said it was "deeply concerned" that the Iran-backed Houthis have targeted dozens of Bahai, and voiced alarm over accounts that Haydara has endured "physical and psychological torture".

"This persistent pattern of vilification, oppression and mistreatment by the Houthis of Bahai in Yemen must end," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

The Bahai community on Thursday released what it said was the response to Haydara's appeal, with the prosecutor accusing the faith of being founded on "satanic thought".

It said that Haydara also has been accused of seeking to create a separate Bahai homeland on the Yemeni island of Socotra.

"The prosecutor's arguments do not address the merits of Mr. Haydara's appeal and instead make absurd, wide-ranging accusations that are not based in law or in fact," said Bani Dugal, principal representative of the Bahai International Community to the UN.

He claimed the prosecutor was following the tactics of Iran's clerical regime, which allows freedom of religion to several minorities but targets the Bahai.

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