SAM Organization for and the American Center revealed the existence of e forcibly disappeared in the prisons of the Transitional Council forces, and demanded the President of the Presidential Council, Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi, and the Presidential Leadership Council to direct the release of all detainees with the Transitional forces urgently, and to work to reveal the fate of the forcibly disappeared and to close all prisons. The two organizations also called for an investigation into the validity of the incidents mentioned in the report related to the establishment of illegal prisons in Aden, Abyan, Lahj and Hadramout, and the transfer of detainees outside the borders of the Republic of Yemen, which were mentioned in other reports of the UN investigation committees. They also called on the Presidential Council to form a special, permanent committee to investigate the conditions of prisons and detainees held by the Transitional Council forces and other forces in government areas, to list the names of detainees and the disappeared, and to know the conditions of their families in order to provide support and assistance to them, to receive complaints, and to monitor the human rights situation with regard to detention, enforced disappearance and inhuman or degrading treatment in all Yemeni regions. They stressed the importance of coordinating with the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to release all Yemenis, who were arrested in their prisons, whether in Yemen and abroad, and to activate the national judicial mechanisms in order to bring to justice the persons who have been proven involved in the acts of arrest, disappearance and cruel treatment, to empower the victims and protect them in order to exercise fair litigation, as guaranteed by national laws and relevant international principles, and to take a serious action to release detainees, reveal those forcibly disappeared by the Transitional Council forces, enhance the protection of civilians, and investigate what was stated in the “Special Unit” report.
“SAM” Organization and the American Center for Justice (ACJ) sent a letter to the Presential Leadership Council in which they confirmed that in the past weeks, the two organizations had received letters from detainees and their families, including complaints about the practices they were subjected to in prisons affiliated with the forces of the Southern Transitional Council where those in charge of these prisons practice violations of the human rights of detainees in a way that violates respect for their human dignity. in addition, their detention has continued for long periods, some of which exceeded three years without presenting them to the judicial authorities or ordering their release. The organizations have received letters stating that these forces arrested and were responsible for disappearing many people in the past months since the announcement of the formation of your Presidential Council. The letter reiterated SAM organization and American Center for Justice obtained testimonies confirming the continuation of inhumane practices against prisoners, including torture and denial of visits, their absence from the outside world, and the prevention of providing them with basic needs in flagrant violation of the relevant rules of international law.
The two organizations obtained testimonies from former detainees about the forcibly disappeared “Mohammed Abdul-Rahman Saeed”, nicknamed “Al-Ghafuri”, in one of the prisons of the Transitional Council as they stated that he was brutally tortured in Waddah Hall at the end of 2016. Testimonies stated that his health condition was hopeless due to torture. He was suffering from broken ribs and could not walk, in addition to becoming so thin because he was unable to eat. According to the testimonies, al-Ghafouri was taken from Waddah Hall at the end of 2016 and has disappeared until this moment. His family, residing in Aden, stated that “Al-Ghafuri” was arrested at the home of one of his relatives in the Basateen neighbourhood by forces belonging to the “Security Belt” on August 24, 2016. His family confirmed his death without their knowledge of the circumstance of his death in prison.
“SAM” and (ACJ) stated that Al-Ghafuri was suffering from a head injury he had sustained during confrontations with the Houthi group in the city of Aden, and his family has been communicating with many parties to find out his fate, but they did not receive information about him until recently. “SAM” learned that his mother died during the past few days, dreaming of seeing and embracing her son, but his enforced disappearance prevented this from being achieved.
During the past years, SAM organization and American Center for Justice verified the crimes of enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention in government areas, which are actually under the control of the Transitional Council forces. In May 2017, “SAM” issued a statement revealing (18) secret prisons in Hadramaut, Aden and Balhaf, Shabwa, which the UAE contributed to establishing, and where opposition civilians were forcibly hidden under the pretext of countering terrorism. In its report, “The Long Absence”, the organization sheds light on enforced disappearances in Yemen. The report presented various testimonies indicating that “the Security Belts” affiliated to the STC carried out night raids on residents’ homes, arbitrarily arrested and forcibly disappeared dozens of residents, and practiced torture in various forms. The families and relatives of some of them did not know their fate for periods of up to five years.
SAM organization and American Center for Justice have proven the involvement of the militias of the Transitional Council in the crime of enforced disappearance and the establishment of illegal secret prisons, noting that it had viewed a shocking financial report issued by the Transitional Council Operations Office and signed by a member of the Transitional Presidential Council, “Aidarous Al-Zubaidi” and directed to the so-called the “Special Unit”, which was published by “Al-Masdar Online”. The report included the activities of the Council in relation to arrests, prisons and other operations.
The report, which was published by the website, showed that there are transfers of detainees to the “Assab” prison in Eritrea, in addition to the existence of illegal and secret prisons belonging to the Elite Forces that the organization revealed some of their details in May 2017, noting that the number of these prisons ranges between 25 and 27 located in the areas of Hadramout, Aden and Abyan. The organization reviewed the published confidential report of the Transitional Council Operations Office and found hundreds of forcibly disappeared individuals without knowing the reasons and dates of those arrests which opens the door wide to fears and worrying analyses about the conditions experienced by individuals there, the extent of violations and frightening practices to which they are exposed in light of the complete secrecy that accompanies what is happening inside those detention centers and even their existence mainly.
The organization’s reports indicated the disappearance of (48) victims where the Transitional Council is accused of being responsible for their disappearance, including: Zakaria Ahmed Qassem, the child Muhammad Saeed Al-Qumaishi, 17, Saleh Saeed Al-Qumaishi, 24, the child Adel Al-Zubaidi, 14, and Helmy Al-Zanji, 35. Testimonies collected by “SAM” from former detainees showed that they were subjected to torture, denial of basic rights and degrading treatment, which reflected a failure to adhere to the basic principles for the treatment of prisoners and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners approved by the United Nations.