Yemen to Probe Alleged Interrogation Abuses by UAE, US

Posted June 25, 2017

John McCain (R - AZ) and Jack Reed (D - RI) both calling the report "deeply disturbing" and urging Defense Secretary James Mattis to investigate the matter and provide more details.

The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee are asking Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to look into allegations that USA officials were aware of torture being conducted by United Arab Emirates forces in Yemen.

Senators John McCain, the Senate committee's Republican chairman, and Jack Reed, its ranking Democrat, asked Mattis to conduct an immediate review of the alleged abuses, including of US support to the forces involved.

The AP report said USA forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees, citing senior American defense officials. "The committee starts work from today and sends its report to the prime minister within 15 days", the order, dated June 22, said.

The investigation by the AP also found that forces from the United States, a close counterterrorism ally to the UAE, had participated in interrogations of prisoners in Yemen. The investigation detailed a network of secret prisons across southern Yemen where hundreds are detained in the hunt for al-Qaida militants.

The New York-based rights watchdog said the UAE has been supporting Yemeni forces that "arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and abused dozens of people during security operations". Photo Credit: Maad El Zikry/AP Defense officials told the AP that the department had looked into reports of torture and concluded that its personnel were not involved or aware of any abuse.

The American officials confirmed that the USA provides questions to the Emiratis and receives transcripts of their interrogations.

Drawing on accounts from former detainees, families of people held in Yemen prisons, lawyers and Yemeni officials, HRW and AP said torture was rife in the informal lockups set up by the UAE and its allied forces, and included heavy beatings and sexual assault. At the Riyan airport in the southern Yemeni city of Mukalla, former inmates described shipping containers smeared with feces and crammed with blindfolded detainees.

The UAE is a key member of a Saudi-led military coalition that entered Yemen's conflict in 2015 to battle on the government's side against Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

"The Emirati state, a member of the Arab coalition, does not administer or supervise any prison in Yemen", the foreign ministry said in a statement.