The United Arab Emirates (UAE) tortured Yemeni prisoners across 18 prisons in Yemen, The Associated Press (AP) revealed today.
Hundreds of Yemeni prisoners were subject to sexual abuse in southern Yemen, where the UAE focuses its foreign policy in Yemen. Fifteen UAE officers ordered Yemeni prisoners to undress and lie down for anal cavity checks, claiming they were looking for contraband mobile phones. The Yemeni prisoners who resisted were beaten until they bled, and threatened with barking dogs.
Hundreds of other detainees suffered similar sexual abuse on 10 March at Beir Ahmed prison in southern Yemen, Aden, according to seven witnesses that spoke to the AP.
Despite countless human rights reports detailing abuse in Yemen, Marine Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, Pentagon spokesperson, said: “US forces are required to report credible allegations of detainee abuse. We have received no credible allegations that would substantiate the allegations put forth in your line of question/story.”
US officials have acknowledged that American forces receive intelligence from UAE partners and have participated in interrogations in Yemen.
Rocks hung from testicles
Witnesses told The Associated Press that Yemeni guards working under the direction of UAE officers used various methods of sexual torture and humiliation. Detainees were raped while other guards recorded the abuse on their mobile phones. Detainees had their genitals electrocuted and rocks hung from their testicles, and others were abused with wooden and steel poles.
“They strip you naked, then tie your hands to a steel pole from the right and the left so you are spread open in front of them. Then the sodomising starts,” said one father of four. The detainees smuggled letters and drawings to the AP describing the sexual abuse.
The drawings show a man hanging naked from chains while he is being electrocuted, another inmate on the floor surrounded by snarling dogs as several people kick him, and graphic depictions of anal rape.
Of the five prisons, AP located, four of them are in Aden, southern Yemen. “One is at the Buriqa base – the headquarters for the Emirati forces. A second is at the house of Shallal Shaye, the Aden security chief closely allied with the UAE, and a third is at a nightclub-turned-prison called Wadah. The fourth is at Beir Ahmed, where the March atrocities occurred”, the AP investigation read.
US personnel have been seen at the Buriqa base, along with Colombian mercenaries, according to two prisoners and two security officials. The detainees could not say whether the Americans, some of whom wear military uniforms, are members of the US government or mercenaries.
The UAE entered Yemen in March 2015 as part of the Saudi-led coalition to neutralise threats posed by the Iranian-aligned Houthi group. The UAE’s foreign policy is prominently focused in southern Yemen, where it supported the political set up of the Southern Transitional Council (STC).