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Yemen’s interior minister demands UAE closes secret prisons

Prison cells [File photo]
Prison cells [File photo]

For the first time Yemen’s interior minister has called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to shut down secret prisons under its control or hand them over to the Yemen government.

Ahmed Al-Maysari made the demands whilst in talks with the UAE according to the Associated Press. The UAE has repeatedly denied operating secret prisons across southern Yemen.

“[Al- Maysari] confirmed the need of closing prisons and subjecting them to Yemeni judiciary and settling issues associated with this file,” the report said on Yemen state-run SABA News Agency.

The Associated Press revealed last month that UAE personnel were directly involved in sexually torturing Yemenis across 18 different prisons. Metal and wooden pipes were used for anal cavity checks, while other detainees suffering from sexual abuse including rocks hung from testicles. Many eyewitnesses told the Associated Press that the detainees were naked, electrocuted and left on the floor with snarling dogs. Some 80 detainees have been released since the investigation was revealed.

UN: UAE soldiers tortured Yemen prisoners

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).

The Emirates claims the internationally recognised government of Yemen is in full control of the country’s prison service. However, Al-Maysari claims he has no control over the prisons.

“In Yemen, the Emiratis have been subjected to an unjust smear campaign because it bears its responsibility toward regional security with courage and boldness,” UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said last week.

Iran-backed militias ready to join Houthis in Yemen

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