Rights group in France sues Abu Dhabi crown prince over Yemen war

Published 21.11.2018 23:02
Updated 22.11.2018 16:43
emAFP Photo/em
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A Paris-based human rights group on Wednesday announced it has filed a criminal complaint against the crown prince of Abu Dhabi for his role in the devastating war in Yemen.

Joseph Breham, a lawyer of the International Alliance for Defence of Rights and Freedoms (AIDL), told reporters that the group was suing Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the UAE's actions in the war in Yemen as well as "complicity in inhumane treatment and bloodshed."

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), of which Abu Dhabi is the capital, is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen for the past three years.

One of the complaints against the Abu Dhabi prince was brought by three nationals of Saudi arch-foe Qatar, who claimed they had been detained and tortured by UAE security officials between February 2013 and May 2015, according to their lawyer Pierre-Olivier Sur.

The trio said they had been subjected to "physical and psychological torture", including beatings, sleep deprivation and threats of rape, hanging and death, Sur said in a statement.

The second complaint, for "complicity in torture and war crimes" in Yemen, was brought by six Yemenis and the French-based International Alliance for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms.

The move came on a day when the crown prince, who is also second-in-command of the UAE Armed Forces, traveled to Paris for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Noting that Yemenis were among the plaintiffs against bin Zayed, Breham said the crown prince has been held responsible in the complaint for the ongoing conflict.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the Saudi-led intervention began, according to the World Health Organization, and 14 million people are at risk of starvation.

The complaint filed in Paris accuses the Saudi-backed coalition of "mass torture, indiscriminate bombings and a blockade leading to a famine," and says that Prince Mohammed bears responsibility as deputy chief of UAE's armed forces.

Prince Mohammed did not respond to the allegations.

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