‘Secret jails in Aden do not exist,’ Yemeni prison director says

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Yemen's Beir Ahmed penitentiary director denied there were secret prisons in Aden that operate outside the legal context of the prisons’ department in the interior ministry and the judicial authorities.

Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Ghassan al-Aqrabi told reporters that funded media campaigns which promote such lies and fabrications for political purposes do not look for the facts to publish them but aim to incite, distort and fabricate.

He added that the penitentiary doors are always open to any media outlets that is seeking the truth as media outlets can visit the penitentiary, meet the administration and sit with prisoners to ask them anything they want about their situation in the facility.

“The penitentiary’s location is well-known. The prisoners’ families visit them every Sunday, and the prisoners are brought before the judicial authorities and the criminal prosecution in public,” he added.

According to Aqrabi, a number of international organizations have visited the penitentiary and observed the situation of prisoners and also directly and transparently spoke with them. These organizations, including the International Red Cross, sensed how the prison matches international human rights standards.

Aqrabi also said that a large number of prisoners were released based on judicial rulings or by the prosecution after they underwent rehabilitation sessions that aimed to re-integrate them in society. The three months long sessions were carried out by skilled and qualified trainers.

“The penitentiary submits an operational report to the prisoners’ administration services to detail the prison’s situation and who was released and lists the new prisoners,” he added.

Aqrabi reiterated his call to media outlets and international agencies to visit the facility, meet the administration and relevant parties in the interior ministry and the prosecution and sit with the prisoners and their families so their reports are realistic and not fabricated for the purpose of serving political parties that do not seek justice as much as they seek to serve a malicious political agenda whom everyone knows who funds it.

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