The world must take action to close the secret prisons in Yemen

Last September, a United Nations report revealed “evidence” that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have committed war crimes and human rights violations in Yemen.

For the seventh year in a row, Yemen is witnessing a fierce war between government forces and the Houthis, which has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, where 80% of the population is in need of aid, as millions are at the brink of starvation.

This was the third report of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which was formed in 2017 to monitor human rights violations in Yemen, including crimes of deprivation of the right to life, arbitrary detention, sexual violence, and torture.

Many human rights organizations around the world spoke about the grave violations committed by the parties to the conflict in Yemen against civilians in Yemen, in violation of human rights and laws.

Among those crimes is the brutality practiced against Yemeni detainees who are detained by the Arab coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia. They are Yemenis who reject the foreign military presence and demand political solutions to restore the unity of their homeland.

Recently, Yemeni activists revealed the existence of secret prisons belonging to the Saudi forces in Al-Mahra Governorate, where Sheikh “Salem Al-Huraizi,” one of the tribal elders is there, stated that foreign forces in the governorate are working to build solitary underground prisons at Al-Ghaydah International Airport, which has been controlled by Saudi forces for years.

The Sheikh explained in a media statement that the coalition forces have worked that they are building about a hundred solitary cells, by which Al-Mahra becomes the main place for torture, arrest, and kidnapping of citizens who refuse their presence.

According to human rights organizations, the security forces of the Hadi government in Hadhramaut governorate in eastern Yemen, under the supervision of the Saudi-led coalition and the UAE, have arrested and kidnapped dozens of civilians for years under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

The Saudi forces are also detaining and torturing detainees in Mukalla Central Prison and Al-Tin Prison in Seiyun in Hadramout, and some of them are transferred to Dhahban Prison in Saudi Arabia. According to testimonies, there are children among the detainees, and there are detainees who are physically liquidated.

Al-Tin Prison in Hadhramaut is one of the worst secret detention centers in Yemen. The prison -deserted since 2006- is located in the Maryama area of Seiyun in Hadramout, 50 meters to the east of the largest military prison, which is also inside the first military region where dozens of civilians get disappeared as soon as they enter it, especially since their detention is extended without being brought before the court or any judicial body.

It is worth noting that the interrogation sessions that take place inside that prison last for long hours, and are illegal. It includes psychological and physical torture by Saudi investigators. The prison is under the supervision of a person nicknamed Abu Salem, Al-Khalidi, the commander of the First Military District, and some Emirati officers and officials in the Yemeni government of Hady.

The Saudi forces are not the only ones with secret prisons in Yemen. The UAE has also established dozens of secret prisons, through forces funded and managed by it, such as the “Giant Brigades” on the western coast, the “Security Belt” forces in the governorates of Aden, Abyan and Lahj (south), and many more.

Together for Justice calls on the United Nations and international actors to take serious actions to close the secret prisons in Yemen, which exceeded 20 prisons, and to open urgent investigations into the violations committed inside those prisons under the control of the Arab coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the armed militias loyal to them.

More: After Arresting Rights Defender Loujain Daghestani: Who is offending the Kingdom now?

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