Jun 22, 2017

Report: U.S. interrogating prisoners in Yemen after they've been tortured

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

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