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‘France covering up UAE crimes at secret Yemen prison’

Lawmakers demand answers from French gov’t over report of UAE running covert jail at gas production site in Yemen

Alaattin Dogru   |16.12.2020
'France covering up UAE crimes at secret Yemen prison'

France-PARIS

A member of the French Parliament on Wednesday accused Emmanuel Macron’s government of covering up crimes committed by the UAE at a factory in Yemen used as a secret prison.

“How long will you continue to lie?” lawmaker Clementine Autain asked Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defense Minister Florence Parly during a speech in Parliament.

“I asked Parly about this. He said he had no knowledge. I raised my concerns to Le Drian. He directed me to the relevant companies. I wonder what the ministers do.”

Autain said she was speaking on behalf of the 51 French lawmakers who signed an open letter on Monday expressing concerns over the UAE running a prison at a gas production factory, partly owned by French oil company Total, in Balhaf, Yemen.

She pointed out that the French government gave €216 million ($263 million) in loans to a group of companies, including Total, when the Balhaf factory was established.

“A few days ago, you awarded the Legion d’Honneur to [Egypt’s President] al-Sisi. Today, your silence covers up the crimes the UAE committed in a factory built with the support of France,” she said.

She also took up the matter in a post on Twitter, saying: “I believe that the government has decided not to get angry with the ‘Emirati ally’ to whom it sold €1.4 billion (over $1.7 billion) worth of arms in 2019.”

The issue first came to light following a report by French publication Le Monde in November last year.

The report cited testimonies of people who were held and subjected to “inhumane actions, including torture” at the covert prison.

Anadolu Agency

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