Human rights organisations slam Christians’ arrest in Sana’a
Middle East Concern launches campaign to get Yemeni authorities to respect prisoners’ human rights. The family of the one known prisoner fears he might be tortured in prison.
Sana’a (AsiaNews/MEC) – The arrests of Christians in Yemen have been condemned. Notwithstanding the authorities’ silence one name among those arrested is known; he is Hani el-Dahayni, arrested shortly before 20 May of this year. Seven more people were detained in August. There are fears that in prison all may be tortured and sentenced to death for apostasy, a punishment inflicted on Muslims who leave Islam for another religion.

The information comes from Middle East Concern, an organisation dedicated to religious freedom in the Middle East that has launched an international letter-writing campaign to Yemen’s embassies and top government officials like President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Human Rights Minister Houda Ali Abdullatif al-Baan and Justice Minister Ghazi Shaif Al-Aghbari, asking them to respect the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Yemen is a party, which clearly states that everyone should be allowed to adopt a religion of their choice in their own country.

From what is known the family of el-Dahayni, 30, confirmed that the young man was arrested following a police raid on his office in which computers and discs were confiscated.

Now the family is concerned that in prison he could face torture, a practice said to be widely used by Yemeni authorities.

A report by Yemen’s Ministry for Human Rights has in fact confirmed that detainees routinely faced harsh conditions and treatment in prison.

According to the news service Sahwa Net, security sources arrested seven people in the western Hudayda region on 18 August on charges of Christian propaganda. The arrests were confirmed but the names of the people involved were not released.