Sheikh, rattle, roll over, and set on fire

After a recent Independent article on the dark side of Dubai, there were a few people who thought the article was unfairly bashing the jewel of the United Arab Emirates.

Well, now the US’s ABC news has gone public with video recordings from neighboring Abu Dhabi. They show a UAE police officer torturing someone:

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.

Apparently there’s some cattle prod insertion too, and the victim’s genitals are set on fire. The identity of the torturer? Confirmed as Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, developer behind the Al Hekma Tower in Dubai. He apparently carried out the torture because he felt he had been short-changed on a delivery of grain for his ranch. You might wonder why he had the sessions video taped; allegedly that was just so he could enjoy them later.

What do the authorities have to say about it? The Minister of the Interior, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, says “all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department.” The fact that the Minister is the perpetrator’s brother doubtless has no bearing on his conclusions. Perhaps someone can take it up with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed Al Nahyan; or perhaps even the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; or the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The government of the UAE isn’t exactly the same set of people as the Al Nahyan family; that would be ridiculous. For example, Sheikh Falah Zayed Al Nahyan keeps a lower profile, allegedly spending his time on more leisurely pastimes like acting as chairman of the racing and polo club and demanding gay sex from strangers in hotels and beating them if they refuse.

In all, the Al Nahyan family seem to be just the sort of stable, civilized gentlemen we should be selling nuclear reactors to, yes?

Update 2009-05-03: 25 more tapes have surfaced