Abu Dhabi (AMA) – Yemeni human rights lawyer and activist Huda al-Sarari, head of the Defense for Rights and Freedoms Foundation, has revealed secret prisons run by the Emirates in the cities of Aden and Mukalla and other outside Yemen for arresting Yemeni opponents to the UAE and its forces, violating their human rights and torturing them.
Al-Sarari said on Monday that she reached a number of Yemeni detainees who had been forcibly disappeared and kidnapped for five years in secret prisons in Aden and Mukalla and transferred to UAE-run prisons outside Yemen, in conditions that lack the lowest standards of humanity and access to justice.
“We could reach a number of them who revealed that they had been subjected to torture and inhuman treatment in UAE-run prisons outside Yemen,” she said. “They said they were not referred to court and that only UAE officers and mercenaries were interrogating them.”
“They were released on condition they do not talk to the media. During the years of their forced disappearances and torture, they were pressured to work for their kidnappers or remain disappeared,” she revealed.
Al-Sarari pointed out that the crimes against these people are not subject to the statute of limitations. “We will pursue the local violators and their supporters”.
She noted that all of them need psychological rehabilitation in order to be reintegrated into society.
Yemeni lawyer Huda al-Sarari, whose son Mohsen was killed at the beginning of April 2019 by the militia of the so-called Southern Transitional Council affiliated to the Emirates, promised that “the local violators and their supporters will be prosecuted.”
Almost 2,000 men are said to have been detained in the clandestine jails and secret Yemen prisons. US forces have been involved in the interrogation of detainees in a secret network of prisons in Yemen. A report by Associated Press said hundreds of people arrested in the hunt for al-Qaeda militants have been housed in the jails.
Torture and abuse are widespread.
Senior U.S. defense officials have acknowledged that their forces have been involved in the interrogations but they deny taking part in or knowing about human rights abuses.
“We always adhere to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct,”chief Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White told AP. “We would not turn a blind eye, because we are obligated to report any violations of human rights.”
AP says it has documented at least 18 secret jails across southern Yemen run by the United Arab Emirates or Yemeni forces. Meanwhile, lawyers and families say almost 2,000 men have disappeared inside the clandestine prisons.
Former inmates released from one detention facility at Riyan airport in the southern city of Mukalla said they were beaten, sexually assaulted, and trussed up on the “grill,” in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire.
“The entire place is gripped by fear. Almost everyone is sick, the rest are near death. Anyone who complains heads directly to the torture chamber,” a former detainee told AP.
The UAE’s government has denied the allegations. In a statement it said, “There are no secret detention centers and no torture of prisoners is done during interrogations.”
The Gulf State is a key member of a Saudi-led military coalition that entered Yemen’s conflict in 2015 to fight on the government’s side against Houthi rebels. It also helps the US target al-Qaeda’s local branch and Islamic State group militants.
A law professor at New York University Ryan Goodman told AP that obtaining intelligence that may have been extracted by torture inflicted by another party would still be considered a violation of the International Convention Against Torture and even could qualify as a war crime.
These posts originally ran on Almasirah and Telesur and appear here with persmission. Featured photo: Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary (Randi Nord)