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Cablegate: Royg Agrees to Not Deport Baha'is to Iran, But

VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHYN #1521 2521334
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081334Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANAA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0294
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 0132
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0279
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SANAA 001521

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA/ARP FOR AMACDONALD; DRL FOR JBARGHOUT/JKERN; PRM FOR
ETHIBAULT/EHARRIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF PREL KIRF YM
SUBJECT: ROYG AGREES TO NOT DEPORT BAHA'IS TO IRAN, BUT
STILL INSISTS ON DEPORTATION

REF: A. SANAA 1473
B. EMAIL EXCHANGE BETWEEN HALA RHARRIT AND
ELIZABETH HARRIS DTD SEPTEMBER 4

1. (SBU) On September 6, the DCM stressed to National
Security Bureau (NSB) and Presidential Office Director Ali
al-Anisi the importance of not deporting the detained Baha'is
to Iran (ref A). Al-Anisi replied that the ROYG would not
forcibly deport the detainees to Iran, but insisted that they
would be deported. He added that the ROYG now understands
the persecution that Baha'is face in Iran and will hence
allow them to be deported to the country of their choice.

2. (SBU) The Ambassador told Interior Minister Mutahar
al-Masri in a September 7 meeting that the USG is likely to
accept the detainees, but cautioned that the US resettlement
process is lengthy. A relieved al-Masri offered to "turn
them over" immediately, prompting the Ambassador to clarify
that the process does not work that way, adding that the USG
would appreciate the ROYG releasing the detainees while they
are processed for resettlement.

3. (SBU) During a September 8 phone call with UNHCR-Yemen
senior protection officer Samer Haddadin, Poloff asked if
UNHCR could provide a resettlement referral to the USG's
regional refugee coordinator, per ref B guidance. Haddadin
replied that UNHCR is expecting to hear from the Prime
Minister's office on whether it can gain access to the
detainees. (Note: UNHCR representative Claire Bourgeois met
with the Prime Minister on September 3 and asked for access
to the prisoners. End Note.) Haddadin said that when UNHCR
receives access, they will send a resettlement officer to
conduct a prison visit and to provide a resettlement
application. Once that occurs, Haddadin said UNHCR-Beirut
will provide the USG's regional refugee coordinator with a
referral to proceed with the resettlement process.

4. (SBU) Comment: Although Post has not yet lost hope for
the detainees' release, it is taking the necessary steps for
possible US resettlement. Post will continue to follow-up
and provide any pertinent updates. End Comment.
SECHE

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