UAE Running Secret Prison in 'Total' Facility in Yemen: Report
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The UAE is running a prison in a Yemeni gas facility run by the French group Total, based on testimonies from international human rights organizations, a former detainee and the family of another detainee, a report said.
Total contributes 39.6% to the gas liquefaction complex in the southern Balhaf region, estimated to cost around 4.3 billion euros, and is managed by a Yemeni local liquefied natural gas company.
French daily Le Monde obtained identical testimonies from a former prisoner and the family of another detainee who confirmed that the prison had held detainees until the middle of this year.
The French newspaper said it has drawn information from testimonies collected by Amnesty International, as well as a group of UN experts on Yemen, as well as non-governmental organizations and Yemeni activists who confirmed the existence of the prison inside a military base set up by the UAE in the same place.
The newspaper wondered whether Total complex did not know the existence of this prison within the scope of its work and investments, where there are still Yemeni employees working to maintain industrial facilities.
Total and the French state that supported its industrial project in Yemen cannot ignore the fact that a number of Shabwa residents spoke of arbitrary arrests and detentions in the province, pointing the finger at Balhaf, where the region's most prominent military base is located, it said.
As for Total, the complex did not deny or confirm the existence of an Emirati prison inside the Balhaf facility, and an official at the local Yemen LNG company run by Total, said they "do not interfere in what the soldiers are doing there."
The French Council also said that it did not have the means to object to the military presence inside the facility or to call a military force to be there.
An official in the Saudi-UAE alliance confirmed to the newspaper the existence of what he called a "temporary detention cell".
In the same context, an official in the UAE denied in his interview with the newspaper accusations related to the torture of prisoners, considering it "propaganda to undermine the credibility of efforts to defeat al-Qaeda."