Report Finds Extreme Torture in Yemen Prisons

Americans involved in interrogations but deny abuses in AP investigation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 22, 2017 12:57 PM CDT
Report Finds Extreme Torture in Yemen Prisons
A Yemeni man describes how his son was detained by Yemeni forces allied with the United Arab Emirates in this May 9, 2017 photo.   (Maad El Zikry)

Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaeda militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme—including the "grill," in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire, an Associated Press investigation has found. The AP documented at least 18 clandestine lockups across southern Yemen run by the United Arab Emirates or by Yemeni forces created and trained by the Gulf nation, drawing on accounts from former detainees, families of prisoners, civil rights lawyers, and Yemeni military officials. All are either hidden or off limits to Yemen's government, which has been getting Emirati help in its civil war with rebels over the last two years.

Senior American defense officials said Wednesday that US forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights abuses. They said US senior military leaders were aware of allegations of torture at the prisons in Yemen, looked into them, but were satisfied that there had not been any abuse when US forces were present. However, one Yemeni official said American forces were at times only yards away from the abuse at secret sites inside military bases, ports, an airport, private villas, and even a nightclub. In a statement, the UAE's government said "there are no secret detention centers and no torture of prisoners is done during interrogations." Click for more. (More Yemen stories.)

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