Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 18:07 UK

UAE to probe sheikh torture tape

Map of UAE

The government of Abu Dhabi has condemned the torture of a man by a member of the UAE royal family and called an inquiry into the case.

The move comes after a video emerged of the crown prince's brother, Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, repeatedly beating a man and running him over with a car.

Human Rights Watch earlier called for a full investigation of the footage.

The government statement said the issue had been resolved privately and that no criminal charges had been filed.

"The government of Abu Dhabi unequivocally condemns the actions depicted in the video," said a statement from the Human Rights Office (HRO) that was carried by the state news agency WAM.

"The HRO of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department will conduct a comprehensive review of the matter immediately and make its findings public at the earliest opportunity," it said.


The Interior Ministry earlier confirmed that the 45-minute video featured Sheikh Issa, who was assisted in carrying out the abuses by several men, including one in a police uniform.

The incident, said to have taken place in 2004, came to light after US television network ABC broadcast clips of the tape, which was smuggled out of the UAE by a former business associate of Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

The footage shows Afghan businessman Mohammed Shah Poor lying tied up and screaming on the desert floor as sand is shovelled into his mouth. He is struck repeatedly with a plank with a protruding nail, and salt is rubbed into his wounds.

In the unbroadcast footage, an electric cattle prod reportedly is used on the private parts of the victim, who had been accused of cheating the sheikh over a consignment of wheat.

Near the end of the tape, Mr Poor is made to lie onto the ground and the sheikh drives over him repeatedly, with the sound of what appears to be breaking bones audible on the tape.

The attacks left him needing months of hospital care.

In an earlier letter to ABC News, the UAE said a police investigation found that "all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department".

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