Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Torture in Yemen

Between May 2016 and April 2020, Mwatana, a leading Yemeni human rights group, documented 1,605 cases of arbitrary detention, 770 cases of enforced disappearance, and 344 cases of torture carried out by all of Yemen’s warring parties.

The Houthi rebels were responsible for the majority of cases, with 904 of the arbitrary or abusive detentions, 353 of enforced disappearance, 138 of torture and 27 deaths in detention, the report’s authors found. The Yemeni government, including the Islah party, were responsible for 282 detentions, 90 disappearances, 65 cases of torture and 14 deaths in detention, Mwatana said.

Deprivation of food and water, beatings and electrocutions were common practices in all 11 unofficial centres under investigation, Mwatana said. UAE forces and affiliated armed groups were responsible for some of the most shocking treatment of prisoners, including being hung upside down for hours and sexual torture such as the burning of genitals.

The highest number of detentions was documented at the Houthi-run Security and Intelligence Agency in Sana’a, formerly Yemen’s Political Security Agency, where former detainees told Mwatana people were subjected to torture including nail removal, severe beatings and electric shocks. 

At the 7 October prison in Abyan, controlled by the Security Belt, detainees faced some of the worst conditions outlined in the report, including a lack of food and water, being forced to drink urine, beatings with hammers, stress positions and sexual torture. Witnesses said detainees’ bodies were dumped in the yard of a nearby hospital.

The report only highlights the case of one female detainee, who miscarried as a result of her treatment in Hodeidah by the Houthis. It is extremely difficult for women to come forward with allegations of mistreatment and rape in the conservative country, but reporting by the Associated Press suggests forced disappearances and abuse of female activists is rife in rebel-held areas.


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