Amnesty International has called for the UAE and its proxies to be held accountable for war crimes committed in its torture prisons in Yemen:
An international rights group on Thursday called for an investigation into alleged disappearances, torture and possible deaths in detention facilities run by the United Arab Emirates and its allied militias in southern Yemen as potential war crimes.
Amnesty International’s call comes months after The Associated Press reported that the UAE and allied militias were running a network of secret detention facilities where torture and abuses were widespread, outside the control of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government.
In a report titled “God only knows if he’s alive,” Amnesty said it documented “egregious violations going unchecked, including systemic enforced disappearance and torture and other ill-treatment amounting to war crimes.”
These are just some of the war crimes committed by coalition forces in Yemen, and these are being committed against Yemenis in the supposedly “liberated” south where the UAE is carving out its sphere of influence. The UAE has maintained that it runs no prisons in Yemen, but this has been exposed as a transparent lie by the excellent Associated Press reporting on these abuses. Amnesty has looked into the cases of dozens of detained and missing Yemenis and confirmed the AP’s findings:
Amnesty said it investigated the cases of 51 men allegedly detained by UAE-backed militias between March 2016 and May 2018 in Aden, Lahj, Abyan, Hadramawt and Shabwa provinces. It said most of the cases involved forced disappearances, and 19 of the men remain missing.
“The families of these detainees find themselves in an endless nightmare where their loved ones have been forcibly disappeared by UAE-backed forces,” said Tirana Hassan, crisis response director at Amnesty. “When they demand to know where their loved ones are held, or if they are even still alive, their requests are met with silence or intimidation.”
Amnesty said it had documented “widespread use of torture and other ill-treatment in Yemeni and Emirati facilities.” Current and former detainees and families gave “horrific accounts of abuse including beatings, use of electric shocks and sexual violence,” the watchdog said.
It strains credulity that no American personnel knew about crimes committed by the UAE and their proxies in these prisons, and any U.S. knowledge of or involvement in the torture of Yemeni detainees should be fully investigated.
The Saudis and Emiratis have been waging an atrocious war on Yemen for more than three years. The UAE’s torture prisons are one of the most egregious and horrifying examples of coalition crimes committed against Yemeni civilians. This is just one more reason why the U.S. should have nothing to do with the Saudi coalition war and ought to halt all military assistance to the coalition at once.