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UAE operating 27 clandestine, torture prisons in Yemen

Dozens have been killed at UAE-run prisons in Yemen [file photo-Getty]

Date of publication: 13 August, 2018

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At least 49 people have reportedly died in UAE-run prisons in South Yemen, with inmates subject to psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

The UAE operates a network of 27 clandestine prisons in southern Yemen, where inmates are subject to torture and brutal interrogation techniques, according to a new report obtained by Al Jazeera.

It describes instances of physical and psychological torture as well as scenes of Emirati army personnel and their Yemeni allies committing sexual abuse. Detainees were subject to rape and electrocution to the chest, armpits and genitals, it said. 

Inmates were also subject to sleep deprivation, poor hygienic conditions, and confined to overcrowded spaces. 

More than 49 people died as a result of torture, the report said. 

The Al Jazeera report follows a separate AP report published in June that said the Saudi-led coaliton operated at least 18 secret prisons in Yemen where detainees were tortured. 

The June report said hundreds of suspected militants from the Islamic State group and the Yemen branch al-Qaeda were rounded up and sent to these facilities. 

The clandestine prisons are reportedly in Hadramout, Aden, Socotra and Mayyun Island. The UAE also operates a facility in Eritrea, where Abu Dhabi has a military base.  

In July, the UN Human Rights Office also confirmed that Yemeni detainees have been tortured and sexually abused by Emirati soldiers.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their allies have been locked in conflict with Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels. 

The Saudi-led coalition has sought to restore the authority of Yemen's UN-backed President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, however, the conflict has largely remained in a stalemate.

The war in the impoverished country has left more than 13,000 people dead and unleashed what the UN has labelled as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

More than 20 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 8 of the country's 28 million on the brink of famine. 

Agencies contributed to this report.


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