A senior member of the UAE royal family has been caught, literary red-handed, in a torture scandal after a videotape was released showing a man being severely assaulted by the prince.
The videotape smuggled out of the country by Bassam Nabulsi, a businessman from Houston, Texas, depicts Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE Crown Prince’s brother, savagely torturing a man.
The victim was beaten with wooden planks with nails protruding from them and then the prince poured salt on his bleeding wounds.
The video also shows the prince setting fire to parts of the victim’s body, giving him electric shocks with a cattle prod, ramming desert sand into his mouth, and firing bullets around him with an automatic rifle.
The gruesome footage released by ABC News also shows Sheikh Issa driving over the victim repeatedly with his luxury Mercedes SUV. The sound of breaking bones is clearly audible in this scene.
On the video, the victim identified as Afghan grain dealer Mohammed Shah Poor, screams and asks for mercy but the UAE prince sadistically orders the cameraman to come closer to get a better record of the man’s suffering.
A UAE police officer in uniform can also be seen helping Issa and his men torturing the Afghan man.
The Sheikh accused Shah Poor “of short changing on a grain delivery to his royal ranch on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi”.
The UAE Interior Ministry has admitted that Sheikh Issa had been involved in the torture but claimed that “The incidents depicted in the video tapes were not part of a pattern of behavior.”
The government also insisted that “all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department.”
Sheikh Issa is one of UAE’s 22 “Royal Sheikhs” and a son of the country’s one and only president, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who died in 2004.
Nablusi, who smuggled the 45-minute tape out of the Arab country, says he too was tortured by the UAE police to force him to hand over the tape to them. He is now filing a lawsuit against the Sheikh in a US federal court in Houston.
The video was allegedly recorded by Nablusi’s brother because the Sheikh took pleasure in watching torture scenes later.
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.”
The businessman says the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi was aware of the torture tapes but did nothing and only advised him to leave the country.
UAE is one of the closest allies of the US in the Middle East and the US Navy operates out of a major base near Dubai. It is also one of the biggest customers for US weapons, having signed a $6.9 billion arms deal with Washington in 2008. The UAE is seen by the US as a critical ally in its self-styled “war on terror.”