From Washington Post:
Dozens, or even up to hundreds, of people have been detained in Yemen by the United Arab Emirates and allied security forces. The people have been abused and, in some cases, severely tortured in secret prisons.
Also cited is an investigation by the AP which found that US forces have participated in interrogating the prisoners.
The UAE denies that these prisons exist.
Human Rights Watch has documented the cases of 49 people, including four children, who have been arbitrarily detained or forcibly disappeared in the Aden and Hadramawt governates of Yemen over the last year. At least 38 appear to have been arrested or detained by UAE-backed security forces.
Former detainees and family members also told Human Rights Watch that some detainees had been abused or tortured inside detention facilities, most often through heavy beatings with officers using their fists, their guns or other metal objects. Others mentioned electric shocks, forced nudity, threats to the detainees or their family members, and caning on the feet.
One man, who was able to visit a detained relative, a child, in Aden, said the boy “looked insane” when he emerged from a crowded cell. He later disappeared from the detention center.
The UAE trains, finances, and arms the forces purportedly going after the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda and ISIS.
The UAE is the main occupying force in the southern part of Yemen, including the southern port city of Aden.
In its press release, Human Rights Watch says “multiple sources, including Yemeni government officials, have reported the existence of numerous informal detention facilities and secret prisons in Aden and Hadramawt (in eastern Yemen), including at least two run by the UAE and others run by UAE-backed Yemeni security forces. Human Rights Watch documented people held at 11 such sites in the two governorates.
“Several US defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the topic, told AP that American forces do participate in interrogations of detainees at locations in Yemen, provide questions for others to ask, and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies,” the AP reported. “They said US senior military leaders were aware of allegations of torture at the prisons in Yemen, looked into them, but were satisfied that there had not been any abuse when U.S. forces were present.”
Beckerle, who led the investigation by HRW, adds,
“None of the Yemenis that we interviewed said that they were interrogated by Americans. But what Yemenis we interviewed said was that, in terms of following up on family members who had been disappeared, that they had been told by various people that the case was ‘with the Americans.'”
On top of all of that, from the AP:
Senators have called for an investigation into the reports that US forces worked with those from the UAE accused of torture.
John McCain, Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the ranking Democrat, Jack Reed, called the reports “deeply disturbing.”
The two senators sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mattis calling for an immediate review.
“Even the suggestion that the United States tolerates torture by our foreign partners compromises our national security mission by undermining the moral principle that distinguishes us from our enemies— our belief that all people possess basic human rights,” the senators wrote Mattis . “We are confident that you find these allegations as extremely troubling as we do.”
Aaaaaand THERE’S MORE:
“Alarm bells are going off about possible U.S. complicity in or benefit from the torture of Yemenis in a secret prison network,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project. “As the United States surely knows from its own shameful history of proxy detention and secret CIA prisons, international law bars not only torture, but also complicity or benefit from torture. If the U.S. knew or should have known its allies were engaged in torture, the last thing it should have done is turn a blind eye.”
On June 10, Al Jazeera reported on forced disappearances by UAE forces and in April, there was a protest outside UN headquarters in Sana’a by family members about forced disappearances by pro-government forces.
Democracy Now! speaks with Kristine Beckerle: