CAIRO (AP) — The U.S. commission on international religious freedom has denounced Yemen's Shiite rebels for charging 24 Baha'is, including women and a teenager, with espionage.
Tenzin Dorjee, chair of the USCIRF, says "this persecution ... is unconscionable and must stop immediately."
The USCIRF's statement Monday says a court in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, which is controlled by the Houthi rebels, charged the Baha'is on Sep. 15 with apostasy and espionage, charges which carry the death penalty.
Dorjee urged for "the unconditional release and dropping of all charges" against Baha'is in Yemen.
The Houthis, who have occupied northern Yemen since 2014, have waged an all-out campaign against all political and religious opponents, holding thousands in detention.
Minority Baha'is observe a monotheistic religion founded in the 1860s by Baha'u'llah, a Persian nobleman considered their prophet.