A Yemeni lawyer says 36 defendants charged with espionage by the Houthi rebels are alleging they have been tortured.

Abdel-Majeed Sabra, a Yemeni lawyer representing one of the detainees, made the claim to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

He said his client appeared in court Tuesday but the hearing was adjourned until Saturday.

Sabra says the detainees have been subjected to beatings and other physical abuses since their detentions, which have ranged from two to four years. He said they are held in underground cells and deprived of food and medicine.

Thousands have been imprisoned by the Houthi militia during Yemen's civil war. An AP investigation found some detainees were scorched with acid, forced to hang from their wrists for weeks at a time or were beaten with batons.