Inside Story

Can international community act on torture claims in Yemen?

Investigation reveals prisoners are beaten, tortured and sexually abused in secret centres run by the UAE.

Seven former detainees say that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is running hidden prisons in Yemen, and that sexual torture is rampant and systematic.

The UAE denies the accusations, which were made to reporters from the Associated Press news agency.

Drawings smuggled out of the prisons provide graphic images of the human rights abuses allegedly suffered by inmates and the brutality that has become a hallmark of Yemen’s civil war.

The conflict began in March 2015 when Houthi rebels advanced on the capital, Sanaa, refusing to accept a new constitution proposed by President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi who was forced to flee the city. Later that month Saudi Arabia assembled a coalition of allies, including the UAE, to support Hadi’s government.

Emirati troops have fought extensively, particularly in the south, around the port city of Aden.

What can the international community do in response to these torture revelations?

And, more importantly, what will it do?

Presenter: Peter Dobbie


Nader Hashemi – director of the Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver
Hakim Al-Masmari – editor-in-chief & publisher, The Yemen Post
Hussain Al-Bukhaiti – pro-Houthi journalist/commentator