Saudi whistle-blower exposes secret prison in Yemen

Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, disclosed that the Saudi Army is controlling a secret prison in Eastern Yemen in which the inmates are tortured to death.

Known online as “Mujtahidd”, the activist made his claim on Twitter yesterday, where he said that the Saudi military has committed serious violations against Yemeni detainees, including torturing many of them to death.

Mujtahid revealed on his twitter page that the secret jail is in Hadhramaut in Eastern Yemen, adding that a report by the former detainees indicates that “hundreds and maybe thousands of people are kept in this prison and a number of them have died under torture and a number of others have become disabled”.

“I received a report from former detainees in a prison run by Saudi forces in Yemen where it is kept secret and what is going on in it,” he said.

He went on to describe that the prison conditions were not even fit for an animal and noted that the Saudi prison is subject neither to Saudi or Yemeni law nor international supervision.

“Those who have revealed the secret jail, ask the legal bodies, the world parliaments and international courts to force the Saudi army to go under the international supervision,” Mujtahid said.

Mujtahidd called on human rights organisations and the international community to urge the Saudi government to accept international monitoring of the prison.

According to the leaked report, hundreds if not thousands of Yemenis have been incarcerated in the prison and tortured. Most are relatives or acquaintances of the main suspects.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarallah movement.

Saudi Arabia’s coalition partner in the war in Yemen, the UAE, has also previously been accused of running secret prisons in the country with reports of sexual abuse occurring. This was later confirmed by a panel of UN experts on the situation in Yemen.

Yesterday, it was also reported by the Yemen Press Agency that a young man had died under torture while in a detention centre in the southern port city of Aden, operated by the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC).

The detainee, Hussein Marwan Aidroo, was said to be the son of the head of public relations for the Yemeni Petroleum Company. He was reportedly kidnapped 12 days before his death after allegedly taking part in protests demanding water and electricity services.