Member of UAE royal family accused of torturing at least 25


(STEPHEN C. WEBSTER)     Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the royal family in the United Arab Emirates, is under investigation following the release of a video which depicts him torturing a man.

Attorneys for American businessman Bassam Nabulsi, who smuggled the video out of the country, alleged in a letter to the country’s highest justice that they possess over two hours of video showing Issa tortured at least 25.

“I have more than two hours of video footage showing Sheikh Issa’s involvement in the torture of more than 25 people,” wrote Anthony Buzbee, an attorney who represents Nabulsi, in a letter to Abu Dhabi’s justice minister.

A clip of the 45-minute video is viewable below. It contains mild violence, but does not carry the most offensive portions of the original.

This video was published to YouTube on May 1, 2009 by user worldcruiser12.

“Believing he was cheated in a business deal, the member of the United Arab Emirates ruling family was trying to extract a confession from an Afghan grain dealer,”reported CNN.

‘With a private security officer assisting, Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan is seen stuffing sand in the Afghan’s mouth. As the grain dealer pleads and whimpers, he is beaten with a nailed board, burned in the genitals with a cigarette lighter, shocked with a cattle prod, and led to believe he would be shot. Salt is poured on his wounds.

“In the end, the victim can muster up only weak moans as an SUV is repeatedly driven over him.”

The man survived and has declined to press charges.

“…[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,” reported ABC News.

“‘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 brothers.”

“The video was allegedly recorded by Nablusi’s brother because the Sheikh took pleasure in watching torture scenes later,” reported Press TV.

“Nabulsi who was Sheikh Issa’s former business partner, was allegedly arrested and charged by UAE police over narcotics trafficking after he refused to turn over the video. After spending time in a UAE prison, Nablusi was finally deported from the country and his passport was stamped with ‘Not Allowed to Return to the UAE.’”

‘But it appears the initial tape could just be the beginning of the problem,” reported theGuardian. “The new tapes apparently also involve police officers taking part in Issa’s attacks, and some of his victims in the as-yet-unseen videos are believed to be Sudanese immigrants.”

“Buzbee said he would be happy to provide the new videos to the Abu Dhabi authorities, who have pledged to investigate Issa’s activities. ‘I also have access to at least three witnesses, all of whom will testify that the brutality exhibited in the videos by Sheikh Issa is part of a pattern of conduct that has gone on for some time … I can also provide additional witnesses who were actually present during several of Sheikh Issa’s torture sessions,’ Buzbee said in the letter.”

“[Let’s] watch more of those videotapes, express our outrage on behalf of international human rights standards, and threaten the UAE that their relationship with us will suffer severely unless there is a real investigation — not the whitewash they tried to get away with — along with real accountability,” opined Glenn Greenwald on Sunday. “We simply cannot, in good conscience, maintain productive relations with a country that fails to take ‘torture’ seriously. We are, after all, the United States.”

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