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Cablegate: Deportation Still Feared for the Baha'is

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHYN #1473 2471408
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031408Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANAA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0250
INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0278
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SANAA 001473

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA/ARP FOR AMACDONALD; DRL FOR JBARGHOUT/JKERN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREF PREL KIRF PGOV YM
SUBJECT: DEPORTATION STILL FEARED FOR THE BAHA'IS

REF: SANAA 1441

1. (SBU) As of September 3, the four imprisoned Baha'is
(reftel) remain detained and face possible deportation.
According to their lawyer, Khaled al-Anisi, the ROYG has now
unofficially agreed that they may choose the country to which
they will be deported.

2. (SBU) On August 31, the Charge d'Affaires once again urged
Foreign Minister Abu-Bakr al-Qirbi to not deport the Baha'is
and passed along information explaining the threat of
persecution Baha'is face in Iran. Qirbi said the Baha'is had
overstayed their visas and may thus be deported. (Note: The
Baha'i community asserts that all four detained Baha'is have
valid visas. End Note). Qirbi also asked if the USG would be
willing to accept the detained Baha'is. The CDA made no
promises, but urged that the ROYG avoid making a hasty
decision while we explored this option.

3. (SBU) On September 2, UNHCR-Yemen representative Samer
Haddadin told Poloff that, despite numerous attempts to visit
the detainees, UNHCR has been refused access. Family members
and other Baha'is, however, reported to Poloff on September 2
that they have been granted visitation in recent days. On
September 2, ICRC-Yemen country director Marcus Dolder
reported to CDA that ICRC has yet to be contacted by their
headquarters on the issue. Dolder added that they have not
attempted to gain access to the imprisoned Baha'is, but is
sure that they would be denied if they attempted to do so
because ICRC has not had access to prisoners in Yemen since
2004 and assumes that the ROYG would say that Embassies
representing the detained have jurisdiction over them
(despite the fear of persecution).

4. (SBU) Comment: Post has been in contact with PRM to
determine possible procedures for US resettlement, should
this become necessary. Post continues, in the meantime, to
lobby the government against deportation. End Comment.
BRYAN

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