UAE’s Prisons in Yemen: Brutal Torture to Extract Fabricated Confessions

UAE’s secret prisons in Yemen witness shocking stories of brutal torture to extract fabricated confessions, in light of the UAE’s continued commission of crimes against Yemenis.

According to the Emirates Leaks website, a former detainee in secret prisons belonging to the Abu Dhabi militia in Yemen narrated horrific details about the brutal practices and violations that detainees are subjected to.

Salem Al-Rubaizi, the head of the Supervision and Inspection Authority of the Southern Revolutionary Movement Council and a member of the council’s political bureau, revealed the brutal methods of torture that he was subjected to during the interrogation sessions to force him to compose a story of his conviction, on charges of communicating with foreign countries.

Al-Rubaizi spent nearly two years in one of the UAE-run detention centers before he was released early this month,

“I was arrested on June 10, 2019. I was first placed in the Balhaf prison in Shabwa provinces, before I was transferred to a prison at Al-Rayyan airport in Hadramout governorate, then to a prison in the oil port of Dhabba in the same governorate, all of which are under the management of Emirati forces,” Al-Rubaizi said.

“These were harsh days, during which I was subjected to various types of torture, including electric shocks, beatings with sticks and electric wires,” he added.

Al-Rubaizi stated that during the first days of detention in Balhaf prison, unimaginable types of torture were practiced on the prisoners by Emirati soldiers led by an officer called Abu Saif Al-Emirati. The torture continued during the detention and investigation period at the facility for a period of 3 months, he added.

“I was with 8 detainees in one dungeon and I was transferred from time to time to a solitary confinement,” he added.

“There are other prisons with a large number of detainees that we are not allowed to meet with. We used to hear some crying and we talked to some from behind the prison walls.”

Regarding the reasons for the arrest, Al-Rabezi said that he at first was charged during the investigation by the Emirati officer with communicating with foreign countries, but after a number of interrogation sessions, the same officer told him that the reason for his arrest was to reject the UAE’s policy in Yemen.

“I was referred to the Criminal Court after calls and demands for my release or my trial,” he added. “The trial lasted more than 5 months while I remained in detention after Emirati officers rejected the court’s decision to release me with a guarantee. On April 2, I was released according to the court ruling, which ruled my innocence of all charges against me by the Emirati side.”

Over the past few years, the United Arab Emirates has been pursuing a plethora of agendas in Southern Yemen, the story of Balhaf is a case in point; a major oil facility in Shabwah province turned by the Emiratis into a detention center, among other things.

The existence of the Balhaf prison was first announced by the United Nations in September 2019. Two months later, Armaments Observatory released a detailed report about the facility which the Emiratis had turned into a military base and a secret prison.

Based on witness accounts, the report also accused Emirati soldiers of treating prisoners inhumanely. The UAE had already been accused of running a secret network of prisons across Yemen.


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