Yemen War

Documents reveal that Saudi Arabia hides its prisons in Yemen

A Yemeni document revealed a Saudi endeavour to hide its secret prisons in Yemen and the grave violations of torture they contain.

Saudi Leaks obtained a document that revealed Saudi pressure on the prosecution and the Attorney General in Yemen to fake reports denying the existence of secret Saudi prisons in the country.

The move came to escape international sanctions and fear of human rights action after international organizations monitored Saudi secret prisons’ violations in Al-Mahra.

SAM Organization for Rights and Freedoms said that the legitimate government’s security forces in Hadramawt governorate in eastern Yemen have arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared dozens of civilians under the supervision of the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and its partner the Emirates for more than four years.

The human rights organization confirmed in its report that Saudi Arabia and the UAE oversaw the torture of dozens of civilians arrested during security operations under the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda in Hadramout governorate.

It indicated that the detainees were transferred to Mukalla Central Prison Al Munawara in preparation for their trial but that the authorities kept them without trial. Some detainees’ families reported that their relatives were transferred to Dhahban Prison in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

SAM documented more than 15 cases, including two children subjected to arbitrary detention or enforced disappearance in Seiyun (the second-largest city in Hadramout) during 2016.

They were arrested by military units belonging to the First Region forces backed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and they were detained in Al-Mud prison in the city of Seiyun before they were transferred to Mukalla prison, the capital of Hadhramaut.

Tawfiq Al-Hamidi, head of the Geneva-based SAM organization, said: “Arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture is an unacceptable crime.”

He added, “It cannot be accepted even with justifications for fighting terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State without guaranteeing any rights for detainees to visit and obtain health and medical care and a fair trial that guarantees the application of the law and provides them with protection.”

According to the report, the Al-Mali prison, which is under the Saudi forces’ supervision, witnessed many detainees’ torture after their arbitrary detention.

The organization pointed out that the international team of experts has also documented many violations in this prison, known as Al-Mud Prison.

Al-Mud Prison detention centre is a “small secret facility” located south of Sayun, inside the Yemeni Armed Forces headquarters in the First Military Zone. It is located 50 meters to the east of the largest military prison, inside the First Military Region base.

Human rights organization’s reports stated that officers from the Saudi and Yemeni intelligence are the ones who are in charge of the interrogation and torture process.

According to testimonies from witnesses who spoke to the organization, the most prominent of these officials is a Saudi officer called Al-Khalidi. Another one is called Badr Al-Otaibi, and a third called Abu Nawwaf, while the prison director is Abdo Al-Marri is Yemeni.

The testimonies confirm that Saudi officers have the authority to decide on arrest and release.

The Hawkeye Organization accused the Riyadh-led coalition forces of killing the citizen Saeed Awad Mansour Mabrouk Munibari, 34 years old, from the Hot Ahmed bin Zain area in the city of Shibam in Hadramout, who used to work in plumbing.

The organization quoted witnesses who confirmed that Saeed was arrested in July 2019, after a person called Azraq called him and asked him to come to the Lake District to work. Hence, the victim went to a store selling plumbing tools to search for the required materials.

They added that shooters came in a civilian car wearing military trousers, and the rest of the clothes were civilian. They took Saeed and told the shop owner and those present to stay in their area and pointed rifles at them.

According to a witness, three days after Saeed was arrested, his family found him in Seiyun Hospital’s refrigerator.

According to testimonies made by witnesses or from Saeed’s relatives, those who killed him were the anti-terror forces supervised by Saudi Arabia, and the family did not obtain permission to bury, before it was able to do so, after 15 days.

SAM organization considered reasonable grounds to believe that the military forces supervised by the Saudi forces have committed an extrajudicial execution by killing Saeed Awad, which entails criminal responsibility, as arbitrary deprivation of life is strictly prohibited under international human rights law.

“The implementation of an unlawful killing by representatives of the authorities controlling a region, whose job is to enforce the law, which amounts to an extrajudicial execution under international humanitarian law.”

The report mentioned that two children, one of them 18 years old and the other 16 years old, were severely beaten with iron wires after being arrested in 2019 by forces affiliated with the first region, supervised by Saudi Arabia in Seiyun.

The organization quoted the father of one of the children saying “My son was severely beaten with iron wires and sticks in addition to insults and insults, as well as being put in cold water in the winter.”

In June 2018, the Associated Press revealed shocking details of Emirati prisons in southern Yemen. Detainees are subjected to sexual violence, which the report considered the primary means of brutality on detainees extracting confessions from them.

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