The Mwatana Organization published Tuesday its research where it documented more than 1,600 cases of arbitrary detentions, 770 cases of forced disappearances, 344 cases of torture, and at least 66 deaths in unofficial prisons since April 2016, shedding light on the scale of abuse suffered by victims.
In an 87-page document, the group reports at least 11 secret detention centers across Yemen where “torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are particularly prevalent.”
“The scale and severity of abuse ... has had a significant societal impact,” the organization said. Many of the secret sites held people for long periods, with the detainees’ families not knowing where their relatives were held until after their release or transfer to another detention, the report’s authors said.
The report, titled, “In the darkness: abusive detention, disappearance, and torture in Yemen’s unofficial prisons” was based on 2,566 interviews with former detainees, witnesses, relatives of detainees, activists, and lawyers, along with medical reports and photographic evidence, according to the group.
Yemen’s devastating war started in late 2014 after the Houthi rebels overran the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north, driving the U.N.’s supported government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.
A Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition intervened the following year to restore Hadi's rule, engaging Yemen in a violent war that has settled into a stalemate.
The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and created the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with more than three million people internally displaced and two-thirds of the population relying on food assistance for survival.