The Arab Federation for Human Rights, which participated in the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council, issued a report of the Federation’s Fact-Finding Committee on alleged secret prisons in Yemen. The report is titled “Report of the Fact-Finding Committee Regarding the Conditions of Detention Facilities in the Yemeni Governorates of Aden and Hadramout”.
As part of its mandate to monitor the human rights situation in Arab countries, the Arab Federation for Human Rights established a human rights commission to investigate allegations of secret prisons in Yemen where prisoners are being abused in Aden and Hadramout Governorates.
To this end, the Arab Federation for Human Rights approved on June 15, 2017 coordination with the Southern Advisory Center for Rights and Freedoms to assign a human rights commission to perform field visits to prisons in the governorates of Aden and Hadhramout to ascertain the veracity of allegations of secret prisons humanitarian standards with the conditions of the official prisons and their residences.
The Arab Federation for Human Rights has been keen to select members of the Inquiry Commission from recognized personalities with scientific and professional competence and practical experience in the field of human rights.
The Fact-Finding Commission carried out its investigations and field visits over a period of time, from 15 June to 15 July 2017. It undertook field and humanitarian visits to a number of prisons in order to familiarize themselves with the conditions of their prisoners and their compatibility with humanitarian standards. The Committee documented these encounters with a documentary film and dozens of pictures and audio clips.
In Aden, the committee visited Al-Mansouri Central Prison, the Criminal Investigation Department in Aden Governorate, and the Mater Camp in the city of Al-Riqa. And “Waddah Hall,” which reportedly referred to the existence of a secret prison where political detainees in it, and included visits to the “Mountain Iron” Camp of the 1st Infantry Brigade, which claimed to be a secret prison. In the governorate of Hadramout, the Commission visited the provisional general prison in Mukalla, the detention center for the Mukalla security administration, the Criminal Investigation Detention Center in Mukalla and the Mukalla Security Directorate.
Results of the report:
Through its thorough and professional investigations, the Commission concluded 31 results, including:
- The Commission was assured that there were no secret prisons in Aden or Hadramout, and therefore any claims to the contrary were incorrect and even malicious.
- The Committee was assured that all civilian prisons in the governorates of Aden and Hadramout are official and restricted in the Public Registry of Prisons and are subject to the supervision of the Public Prosecution and the supervision of the judicial authorities.
- The Committee confirmed that there are no secret prisons outside the scope of the law, whether under general law or under military law, have been found or accessed.
- The Committee stated that it has not been informed of or received a complaint of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances or unlawful detention.
- The Committee was assured that all workers and persons in charge of prisons and places of detention were Yemeni nationals and that there were no other bodies or entities that could or could take over the arrest and detention of any citizen other than the security services and judicial authorities.
- The Commission was assured that there were no Arab coalition forces operating or guarding these prisons as well as no investigative bodies affiliated with the security services of the Arab Coalition in those prisons.
- The Committee was assured that there were no political prisons or detainees on the basis of their political positions, and that all arrests were made on the basis of criminal charges that conflicted with the laws in force or against military, terrorist or subversive offenses.
- The Committee was assured that there was no cause for concern about human rights violations in the general prison or in the rest of the detention centers, whether in the centers of the security and police departments or in the criminal investigation and the public prosecution centers, and that the arrest and detention mechanism was carried out under the direct supervision and guidance of the security authorities and the public prosecution The process of filing and release decisions is vested in the legal authorities.
- Through direct dialogues with dozens of prisoners, the Committee did not see any signs of torture against any of them and has not received any complaints or mere hints of such violations. Many also confirmed that they received good treatment during the interrogation and their daily lives.
- The Commission was made aware of the allegations alleging the presence of military or security elements of the UAE forces responsible for the investigation and interrogation of prisoners and elements involved in terrorist acts as well as suspected links to those parties.
- The Committee noted that the mutilation campaigns of the local authorities and the security forces in Aden and Hadramout were due to their ability to defeat the Huthi militias, the forces of the former President and the terrorist elements of al-Qaeda, Da’isiyah and Ikhwanism.
Recommendations of the report:
The fact-finding committee made several recommendations, including:
- The Committee recommends that the Government of Yemen pay special attention to the conditions of prisons and to accelerate their rehabilitation, in a constructive, administrative and operational manner.
- The Committee recommends that the Yemeni judicial system work to lift its conditions and activate its judicial functions and the speed of broadcasting in cases of accused.
- The Committee recommends that Yemeni human rights organizations develop a culture of human rights among the security services as well as provide legal support to the accused.
- The Committee recommends that international human rights and humanitarian organizations investigate the facts from their source without relying on allegations and allegations of incorrect political orientation.
- The Committee calls upon the Yemeni political parties not to politicize human rights issues and to use them for political purposes, as they relate to the lives of people whose rights and duties are respected.
Arab Federation for Human Rights
Geneva, September 22nd 2017