US 'interrogating detainees tortured in UAE black-sites' in Yemen

US 'interrogating detainees tortured in UAE black-sites' in Yemen
An investigation has shown the full extent of torture being conducted in 'black sites' across south Yemen.
3 min read
22 June, 2017
Protesters routinely challenged previous President Obama to close Guantanamo for its human rights abuses [Getty]
The United States is interrogating hundreds of men who were tortured by UAE prison guards, an AP investigation has revealed.

Senior US military personnel confirmed their involvement, but denied any knowledge of human rights abuses.

Interrogating the victims of torture is illegal under international humanitarian law, as it is seen as complicity.

"We always adhere to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct," said Defence Department spokesperson, Dana White.

"We would not turn a blind eye, because we are obligated to report any violations of human rights."

At least eighteen separate secret prisons were found to be in operation across south Yemen, all either run or supported by the UAE.

A spokesperson for the UAE government denied the allegations.

"There are no secret detention centers and no torture of prisoners is done during interrogations."

In a separate report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday that the UAE was responsible for running two of 11 secret prisons in south Yemen.

HRW quoted interviews from former detainees, families of detainees, lawyers and Yemeni government officials.

As a result of these interviews, it had isolated the cases of 49 people, including children, who had been tortured.

One former detainee reported that inmates were kept blindfolded in cramped conditions in shipping containers for weeks at a time.

"The entire place is gripped by fear. Almost everyone is sick, the rest are near death. Anyone who complains heads directly to the torture chamber."

In an interview with ABC News, Trump said he believed torture works and that "we have to fight fire with fire."

The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition to defeat the Houthi-backed Yemeni rebels, but has also helped in a US-led mission to fight al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP).

The US has ramped up its drone strikes against AQAP positions since Donald Trump took the presidency. There have been more than 80 strikes in Yemen since January, compared with 21 in 2016.

US "black sites"

The United States military was accused of supporting torture cells widely in the aftermath of its "War on terror".

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports on a US programme of "kidnapping, torture, and secret imprisonment of terrorism suspects", aided by more than 50 different countries.

"These governments allowed the CIA to abduct people from their soil, use their airports and airspace to extrajudicially transfer prisoners under brutal conditions, or establish secret prisons where prisoners were tortured," the ACLU said in a report.

The previous US president, Barack Obama, disbanded these so-called "black sites" in 2009 and issued new legislation, forbidding the US' involvement in torture.

Current US president Donald Trump claimed to be a supporter of torture during his electoral campaign, claiming he would do "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding", should he win the election.

In an interview with ABC News, Trump said he believed torture works and that "we have to fight fire with fire."