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Maad El Zikry / AP

U.S. forces have been interrogating detainees in Yemen after they have been tortured in secret prisons controlled by the United Arab Emirates, according to an AP report, which is well worth reading in full. They are being held as part of a U.S.-supported hunt for suspected al-Qaeda militants.

Why it matters: Obtaining intelligence that may have been gleaned as a result of torture, even if inflicted by another party, violates the International Convention Against Torture, and could qualify as a war crime. Plus, this sounds familiar because of the CIA's torture and rendition program after September 11th, which Obama shut down and which Yemen and the UAE were involved in.

The U.S. role: Senior U.S. defense officials acknowledged the U.S. is interrogating prisoners in Yemen but denied participation in or knowledge of torture. Several U.S. defense officials and Yemeni Brig. Gen. Farag Salem al-Bahsani confirmed the U.S. has been interrogating prisoners in Yemen, providing questions for others to ask, and receiving transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies. The Yemeni Brig. Gen. said reports of torture are "exaggerated." The U.A.E. denied that the prisons exist.

The claims: The network of prisons includes locations in military bases, ports, an airport, private villas, and a nightclub. Lawyers and families claim there are about 2,000 men who have disappeared into the system. The methods of torture include "grilling" inmates — "in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire."

What's next: Human Rights Watch has documented the torture and disappearances. Amnesty International is calling for a UN-led investigation into the UAE and other countries' roles in the network of prisons

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
3 hours ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

4 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.