UAE torture Sheikh acquitted 14, January 2010Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, The Emirates.
Tags: Abu Dhabi torture, Issa torture, Shiekh Issa, Torture, Torture case, UAE torture
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I haven’t commented on the recent judicial decision to acquit Shiekh Issa bin Zayad Al Nayhan of all torture charges in the UAE, mostly because it is practically too depressing for words. I’ll just jot down a few thoughts.
- Five of the seven men present when the man was being tortured were sentenced, including an Indian, a Syrian and a Palestinian.
- That is to say that the man who ran over him with a car, stuffed a cattle prod up his anus, stuffed sand in his mouth, set his genitals alight, hit him with a stick with a nail in the end, poured salt – quite literally – over his wounds has not been sentenced at all.
- Sheikh Issa was found not guilty because he was ‘drugged’ at the time and an Indian cook at his house has been sentenced to three years in jail for aiding in this dastardly plot
- To my knowledge, no medical evidence has been shown of drugs in Issa’s system
- This time last year the US signed a sharing nuclear technology deal with the Emirates
- Sheikh Issa is the brother of the ruler of Abu Dhabi who is also the President of the United Arab Emirates…you know…the Khalifah as in Burj Khalifah
- The Afghan man who was tortured was given a large out of court settlement by the family of Shiekh Issa. He – amazingly – agrees with Sheikh Issa that the torture was, in fact, not Issa’s fault
- The defense council (of the two men ‘guilty’ of drugging Issa) offered “two hours of videos of Shiekh Issa torturing other men” but this was not accepted into evidence.
- I’ll say that again: THERE IS APPARENTLY AT LEAST TWO HOURS OF FOOTAGE OF ISSA TORTURING AT LEAST 20 (TWENTY} OTHER MEN.
The verdict is a farce, and shows why the world should have no confidence in the [United Arab Emirates'] justice system. This was a show trial, held completely in secret, with one objective: to relieve international pressure on the ruling family so that the pending military treaty with the U.S. would go forward. The fact is, and the evidence is clear, Sheikh Issa tortured numerous people and he ordered the torture to be videotaped. The sheikh’s abhorrent behavior also was not isolated. I offered the U.A.E. authorities additional videotape indicating that at least 20 other people were tortured by the sheikh. [...] The Obama administration, like the Bush administration, continues to coddle the U.A.E. and look past serious human rights and security concerns there.
Tony Buzbee – Defense lawyer
Al Jazeera’s cheeky Burj Khalifah headline 5, January 2010Posted by thegulfblog.com in Al-Jazeera.
Tags: Abu Dhabi torture, Al-Jazeera, Burj Dubai, Burj Khalifah, Dubai, Middle Eastern press, UAE
Al Jazeera’s headline on a lead article discussing the opening of the world’s tallest building in Dubai is, I believe, an example of the type of journalism that angers various people around the region.
دبي تتجاهل الديون وتفتتح برجها
Dubai ignores the debt and opens its tower
My translation is, I think it’s fair to say, a kind one. The root of the verb that they use for ignore VI جهل means, according to the universally recognised most authoritative arabic-english dictionary:
to ignore; to refuse to have anything to do; shut one’s eyes, disregard; to affect ignorance, pretend to know nothing
Whilst my arabic is in no way, shape or form good enough to pronounce something to be the case, I really would suggest that this is a really rather cheeky headline. This word has well-known connotations and other meanings that are rather negative. There is, incidentally, no way of knowing what the author really was trying to get at: he could have been meaning to say ‘Dubai pretends to know nothing about its debt and opens its tower’; both are written exactly the same in the Arabic language but mean, of course, different things. This kind of naughty quasi-double entendre is par for the course for many journalists as an interesting headline to attract attention. I doubt, however, whether the powers that be in Dubai would be quite as forgiving.
US-UAE nuclear deal to go through 25, October 2009Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, The Emirates.
Tags: Abu Dhabi torture, civilian nuclear programme, Sheikh Issa torture, Torture video, UA UAE nuclear deal, UAE nuclear deal
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Several months ago a video of the half-brother of the ruler of Abu Dhabi emerged showing him videoing himself torturing an Afghan man for an extended period of time. This horribly graphic video clearly showed the work of a vicious and hateful sadist taking pleasure in egregiously inflicting pain – with the police in attendance – on a lowly Afghan grain dealer. It is truly a sickening video in every way, shape and form. On its release, the story was picked up by news media across America and caused a suitable level out (initial) outrage. Specifically, it was mooted that Congress would veto the nascent US-UAE cooperation on starting the Emirates’ civilian nuclear programme.
However, somewhat unsurprisingly, realpolitik has – as ever – won the day and the programme is back on the table as if nothing ever happened. To the best of my knowledge – having witnessed something of a profound lack of coverage of what seems to me to be an important story – Sheikh Issa is still under house arrest in one of his palatial palaces in the Emirates. Hardship indeed and I am sure that he has learned his lesson.
Article catch up 27, May 2009Posted by thegulfblog.com in Egypt, French IR, Saudi Arabia, The Emirates.
Tags: Abu Dhabi torture, GCC monetary union, Obama, Sarkozy, Saudi, Shia politics
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- Reuters have an interesting article about Saudi’s dealings with their Shia minority. The most interesting sentence is in the middle:
Saudi King Abdullah removed the governor of the Najran region last year after the Ismaili Shi’ites, a majority in the area, complained about efforts to settle Sunni Yemenis and give them housing and jobs in an effort to marginalise them further.
- The Independent on Sarkozy’s recent trip to the Gulf. It is a neat summary, though quite how it fails to mention the recent case Abu Dhabi torture case (here and here) or their nuclear ambitions is beyond me.
The presence in Abu Dhabi is seen by President Sarkozy as part of a radical shift of French foreign and security policy away from the independent or “multi-polar” approach taken by the former President, Jacques Chirac. Together with the decision to rejoin the military structures of Nato, the Gulf base is intended as a move towards the “Anglo-Saxon” way of looking at the world. At the same time, both moves are intended to give France a greater stake in Western decision-making.
- The extraordinarily optimistic Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah is still hopeful that the Gulf monetary Union will go ahead, despite the UAE pulling out of the deal this past week. I am not that sure how, exactly, the Emirates could have made their wishes any clearer…
The Darkest of Ironies: UAE & US Torture 24, April 2009Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, The Emirates.
Tags: Abu Dhabi torture, American torture, Bush administration, Issa bin Zayad al Nayhan, Torture, Torture video, UAE torture
**This video is horribly graphic in places**
ABC news in America has received and released some of the video footage of a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family torturing an Afghan man. Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan is the half- brother of the country’s crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed. He is clearly visible throughout the 45 minute video leading the group of men – including a man in police uniform – in torturing an Afghan man who he believed was trying to rip him off. Here are examples of some of the torture:
- Shooting an automatic assault rifle into the ground inches from the bound man
- Beating him with a cattle prod
- Inserting a cattle prod into the man’s anus
- Using the cattle prod on the man’s testicles
- Setting fire to the man’s testicles with lighter fluid
- Whilst being held down by the police officer sand is forced into his mouth, nose and eyes
- Beating the man with wooden planks, particularly one with a nail sticking out the end
- Salt is then poured over the man’s wounds
- The man is repeatedly run over by the Sheikh’s huge SUV
What the ABC edited video shows is the utter sadism of Issa. From recording the video in the first place to demanding close ups “to see his suffering” to (literally) rubbing salt into his wounds, the punishment dealt to this man is horrific.
At this stage, usually one would want the world’s strongest power to come out with a forceful statement or even(!) action of some description. But, of course, America simply cannot say anything without sounds ridiculous. It does not matter that the torture carried out by Issa was infinitely worse that the equivalent in America (not that I’d like to be subjected to America’s torture…). The simple fact is that America has yet further lost its moral high ground EXACTLY when it needed it the most. And no, I am not one of those people that blame Obama and not the Bush Administration for all this. So many people seem angry that people know about the torturing not that America actually did the torturing. People’s perspective is getting hopelessly lost in part-political debates and it’s fairly sickening, especially when put into relief again the focus of this story. So far as I can see, this is simply the Bush Administration’s last shot from the grave to finally and for an exceedingly long time tarnish America’s reputation. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo just weren’t enough for them. They have an epic amount to answer for.