Human Rights Watch has called on the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) to release all forcibly disappeared and arbitrarily detained prisoners in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden.
In a report released on Thursday, HRW called on the STC to “urgently address the inhumane detention conditions, and release those detained arbitrarily.”
Detainees of one of the illegal prisons in Aden are facing serious health risks from the rapidly spreading of the coronavirus, Human Rights Watch said.
The organisation noted that Bir Ahmed prison is an informal and overcrowded detention centre in a military camp, controlled by the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council.
The organisation quoted relatives of five detainees as saying that in April, the detention centre authorities transferred 44 detainees to a room not exceeding 10 square meters, where four people had previously been detained.
The detainees lack masks, gloves, and hygiene products to protect themselves from Covid-19, as well as basic healthcare services, HRW said.
It called on the authorities to take immediate steps to ease the extreme overcrowding and reduce the risk from the virus, starting by releasing those held without charge or for exercising their basic rights.
“The conditions and absence of health care at Aden’s Bir Ahmed facility threatens the lives of detainees and facility staff as Covid-19 spreads in Yemen,” said Michael Page, Deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch.
“The Aden authorities should end the numerous human rights violations involving the trapping of detainees in confined areas during the coronavirus outbreak, and release people who have not been charged or who are not dangerous,” he added.
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