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UN agency says UAE soldiers tortured detainees in Yemen: report

UN rights office has requested access to the UAE-run jails in Yemen, but to date has not been granted it, report says.

detainees in Yemen

A number of Yemeni detainees have been subjected to ill-treatment, torture and sexual abuse by United Arab Emirates (UAE) soldiers, the UN human rights office in Geneva said.

"We have engaged with UAE government on this issue and requested access to UAE-run prisons in the country but to date we have not been granted access," Liz Throssell, UN right officespokeswoman told Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency on Tuesday .

"From the initial information that our office in Yemen has managed to gather, we have reason to believe that a number of Yemeni detainees have been subjected to ill-treatment, torture and sexual abuse by UAE soldiers," she said.

The UN agency is continuing to monitor the situation with a view to deciding what follow-up steps are needed, she added.

'Sexual abuse'

Witnesses recently told the Associated Press news agency that Yemeni guards working under the direction of Emirati officers have used various methods of sexual torture and humiliation.

READ MORE: Yemeni prisoners say UAE officers sexually torture them: AP

According to the AP report, they raped detainees while other guards filmed the assaults and electrocuted prisoners' genitals or hung rocks from their testicles.

They sexually violated others with wooden and steel poles, report said, adding that they searched the anal cavity of prisoners, claiming that they were looking for contraband mobile phones.

In Yemen's three-year civil war, UAE forces that are purportedly fighting on behalf of Yemen's government have overtaken wide swaths of territory, towns and cities in the south.

They have swept up hundreds of men into a network of hidden prisons on suspicion of being al-Qaeda or ISIL fighters, AP said, and added that the prisoners are held without charges or trials.

Yemen's war began in 2015, after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels took over much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa, and forced out the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Saudi-led coalition, armed and backed by the United States, has sought to bomb the rebels into submission with a relentless air campaign in support of the Hadi government.

But it is the UAE that has taken the lead in southern Yemen.

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