This is a disturbing news story. The videos are fairly graphic, so I haven’t embedded them here. Even though the most horrible segments have been edited out, sensitive readers may want to avoid following the links to them.
The tape of these events was smuggled out of the United Arab Emirates, and was posted on the ABC News site yesterday (it may also have been on TV, but we don’t have one, so I don’t know).
Here’s a brief summary of it, taken from The Mad Hatters:
A videotape smuggled out of the UAE shows Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan — brother of the country’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed — torturing a man with whips, electric cattle prods and wooden planks with protruding nails.
The torture victim, Mohammed Shah Poor, was accused by the Sheikh of short changing him on a grain delivery to his royal ranch on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.
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.
A video tape smuggled out of the United Arab Emirates shows a member of the country’s royal family mercilessly torturing a man with whips, electric cattle prods and wooden planks with protruding nails.
A man in a UAE police uniform is seen on the tape tying the victim’s arms and legs, and later holding him down as the Sheikh pours salt on the man’s wounds and then drives over him with his Mercedes SUV.
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. [sic]
The government statement said its review found “all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department.”
This is not a new story — MSNBC reported on it last summer, when the man who smuggled out the tape filed suit against Sheikh Issa:
As a trusted adviser to a member of United Arab Emirates royal family, Texas businessman Bassam Nabulsi says he safeguarded the sheik’s most important documents: financial records, investment documents, and videotapes showing the sheik torturing people with a cattle prod and a spiked plank.
Now that Mr. Nabulsi has made the tape public, the issue of torture in the UAE will be that much harder to ignore.
Presumably the ABC network is seizing this opportunity to make former President Bush look bad. But it’s important to remember that cozying up to the despots of the Persian Gulf is a thoroughly bipartisan affair, and continues under the current administration.
Hat tip: VH.