Nov 09, 2019 11:02 UTC
  • This file photo shows a view of the Balhaf liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Yemen. (Photo by AFP)
    This file photo shows a view of the Balhaf liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Yemen. (Photo by AFP)

The United Arab Emirates is running a secret prison in a gas facility operated by the French group Total in southern Yemen, according to information confirmed by France’s Le Monde daily.

The detainees of the prison -- which is located in the industrial port town of Balhaf -- have suffered inhumane treatment and endured acts of torture with the knowledge of the UAE forces, the French newspaper reported Friday.

Total owns 39.6% of the gas liquefaction complex in the southern Balhaf region.

Le Monde obtained testimonies from a former prisoner and a relative of another detainee, who confirmed that the prison inside the Yemeni gas complex had held detainees until the middle of this year.

The French newspaper says it has drawn information from testimonies collected by Amnesty International, as well as a group of UN experts on Yemen.

Various non-governmental organizations and Yemeni activists have also confirmed the existence of the prison inside a military base set up by the UAE in the same place.Last year, a report by the Associated Press revealed that hundreds of detainees have suffered torture and sexual abuse by Emirati officers at the jails which the UAE runs in war-torn Yemen.

Citing victims and witnesses, the AP reported that the detainees, who are held without charge, have been sodomized, raped, probed and stripped down in at least five prisons.

Amnesty International said it had also documented “systematic grave violations” in UAE-run jails in Yemen. The group called the AP report “shocking,” saying US officials “continue to dismiss these credible allegations.”

Militants backed by the UAE have reportedly kidnapped and tortured hundreds of people in southern Yemen.

Last month, head of Yemen’s National Committee for Prisoners Affairs (NCPA) Abdulqader al-Mortada blamed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for obstructing prisoner swaps with Yemen's Ansarullah movement. 

The agreements had been agreed upon during UN-sponsored Yemeni peace negotiations in Sweden last year, but Mortada said Riyadh was insisting on the release of Saudi troopers only.

Mortada said the fate of an estimated 15,000 people, from both Saudi-backed Yemeni militia forces and the Ansarullah movement, remains unclear, adding they are believed to have either gone missing in action or been kept as prisoners.