A member of the French parliament on Wednesday accused Emmanuel Macron’s government of covering up crimes committed by the United Arab Emirates in a factory in Yemen used as a secret prison.
“How long are you going to keep lying?” Deputy Clémentine Autain questioned Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defense Minister Florence Parly during a speech in Parliament.
“I asked Parly about it. He said he had no knowledge. I shared my concerns with Le Drian. He directed me to the companies concerned. I wonder what ministers are doing.
Autain said she was speaking on behalf of the 51 French lawmakers who signed an open letter on Monday expressing concerns over the UAE’s handling of a prison at a gas production plant, partly owned by the company. French oil company Total, in Balhaf, Yemen.
She pointed out that the French government granted 216 million euros ($ 263 million) in loans to a group of companies, including Total, when the Balhaf factory was created.
“A few days ago, you awarded the Legion of Honor to [Egypt’s President] al-Sisi. Today your silence covers the crimes committed by the UAE in a factory built with the support of France, ”she said.
She also addressed the issue in a message on Twitter, saying: “I think the government has decided not to get angry with the ‘Emirati ally’ to whom it has sold 1.4 billion euros (more than 1 , $ 7 billion) of weapons in 2019. ”
The problem first emerged following a report by French publication Le Monde in November of last year.
The report cited testimonies of people detained and subjected to “inhumane actions, including torture” in the secret prison.
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