This is a story you are not likely to see reported in the UAE papers. The mighty Abu Dhabi is in a bit of trouble over the actions of one Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, brother of the country's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed and also younger brother of the President of the U.A.E., Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed.
Tapes released by a former business partner of the Sheikh, and broadcast last week by US network ABC, showed the UAE Sheikh personally torturing an Afghan trader over a missing load of grain. The story was around in mid-2008, but now that ABC have broadcast it, the issue is again in the news: the main question is what will the new US Administration do?
The 45min video shows the man, whose identity in the tape was apparently confirmed by the UAE Ministry of the Interior as indeed being Sheikh Issa, clobbering him with wood panels from which nails protrude and electrocuting his genitals and anus. He then pours salt over the man's wounds and drives over him with a Mercedes SUV. Perhaps more worrying, he is clearly assisted in all this by a uniformed UAE Policeman.
The tape can be seen at UAETorture.com, but be warned, it is exceptionally sickening (apparently my readers from the UAE without VPN cover will not be able to go to this website, funnily enough!).
The main issue is that the UAE Government decided that, because the Afgan who was tortured survived and is apparently unwilling to press charges, it’s all OK – despite the presence of UAE Police helping to hold him down. The event was filmed in 2005, and the US Embassy was also made aware at the time but chose to simply give it a one-liner in the 2008 Human Rights report for the UAE. I guess it helps when your brother is the Minister of the Interior, and that the hapless GW Bush's administration was keen not to offend one of its main regional allies, especially over torture - a subject GW was having his own problems with.
You can read the full story at ABC News.
ABC News Exclusive: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Royal Sheikh.
Police in Uniform Join In as Victim Is Whipped, Beaten, Electrocuted, Run Over by SUV
A video tape smuggled out of the United Arab Emirate shows a member of the country's royal family mercilessly torturing a man with whips, electric cattle prods and wooden planks with protruding nails.
In a statement to ABC News, the UAE Ministry of the Interior said it had reviewed the tape and acknowledged the involvement of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, brother of the country's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed.
"The incidents depicted in the video tapes were not part of a pattern of behavior," the Interior Ministry's statement declared.
The Minister of the Interior is also one of Sheikh Issa's brother.
The government statement said its review found "all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department."
The Sheikh begins by stuffing sand down the man's mouth, as the police officers restrain the victim. Then he fires bullets from an automatic rifle around him as the man howls incomprehensibly.
At another point on the tape, the Sheikh can be seen telling the cameraman to come closer. "Get closer. Get closer. Get closer. Let his suffering show," the Sheikh says.
Over the course of the tape, Sheikh Issa acts in an increasingly sadistic manner.
He uses an electric cattle prod against the man's testicles and inserts it in his anus. At another point, as the man wails in pain, the Sheikh pours lighter fluid on the man's testicles and sets them aflame. Then the tape shows the Sheikh sorting through some wooden planks. "I remember there was one that had a nail in it," he says on the tape.
The Sheikh then pulls down the pants of the victim and repeatedly strikes him with board and its protruding nail. At one point, he puts the nail next to the man's buttocks and bangs it through the flesh.
"Where's the salt," asks the Sheikh as he pours a large container of salt on to the man's bleeding wounds.
The victim pleads for mercy, to no avail.
The final scene on the tape shows the Sheikh positioning his victim on the desert sand and then driving over him repeatedly. A sound of breaking bones can be heard on the tape.
Sheikh Issa's lawyer, Daryl Bristow of Baker Botts in Houston, told ABC News "the tape is the tape."
The torture victim was identified by Nabulsi as an Afghan grain dealer, Mohammed Shah Poor, who the Sheikh accused of short changing on a grain delivery to his royal ranch on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.
The UAE government, in its statement, says the matter was settled privately between the Sheikh and the grain dealer, "by agreeing not to bring formal charges against each other, i.e., theft on the one hand and assault on the other hand."
Meanwhile, in other UAE news:
An Omani prisoner, identified only as Mahmoud, escaped from a UAE hospital a couple of days ago, after serving a year in Jail in Sharjah for smuggling vehicles.see Gulf News.
Prisoner at large will be given longer jail term when caught
By Mariam M. Al Serkal Staff Reporter
Published: April 27, 2009, 23:54
Sharjah: A runaway convict has been at large since Sunday and police are unable to confirm whether he is still in the country.
The 25-year-old Omani prisoner, identified by police as Mahmoud, was serving a jail term for smuggling vehicles out of the country and taking them to other Gulf States.
The police official also pointed out that the convict had already spent more than one year at Sharjah Central Jail.
The prisoner was transferred to a room at the Osteopathy Department where he escaped after removing the handcuffs and jumping out of the third-floor room
Dubai are upping their inspections of their squalid labourer camps following the recent reports in the UK media on how dire conditions are. Good to see the media doing its job. Pity it wasn't the local reporters...
And, again after international pressure, the UAE prison service have released British woman (and ex-Omani florist) Marnie Pearce early and suspended her deportation order.
Pearce released after serving adultery term
Rasha Abu Baker and Nour Samaha
Last Updated: April 27. 2009 11:00PM UAE / April 27. 2009 7:00PM GMT DUBAI // A British woman who was sentenced to three months in prison for committing adultery was yesterday released from Dubai Central Jail.
A spokesperson for the prison said Marnie Pearce, 40, was released at around 9am after serving 68 days of her three-month sentence. An order to deport Ms Pearce after serving her sentence has been suspended, the spokesperson said.
“She has been released but her passport is being held. Ms Pearce will not be leaving the country because her deportation order was suspended and for some unresolved legal reasons her passport is being held with public prosecution,” she said.