ABC News Exclusive: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Royal Sheikh

ABC Exclusive: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Royal Sheikh

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.

Torture Tapes
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"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.

The government statement said its review found "all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department."

"If this is their complete reply, then sadly it's a scam and it's a sham," said Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch.

"It is the state that is torturing them," she said, "if the government does not investigate and prosecute these officers, and those commanding those officers."

The 45-minute long tape was smuggled out of the country by Bassam Nabulsi, of Houston, Texas, a former business associate of Sheikh Issa.

VIDEO: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Sheikh
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Nabulsi is now suing the Sheikh in federal court in Houston, alleging he also was tortured by UAE police when he refused to turn over the videos to the Sheikh following their falling out.

"They were my security, really, to make my case that this man is capable of doing what I say he can do," said Nabulsi in an interview to be broadcast Wednesday on the ABC News program Nightline.

Nabulsi says the video tapes were recorded by his brother, on orders from the Sheikh who liked to watch the torture sessions later in his royal palace.

The Sheikh begins by stuffing sand down the man's mouth, as the police officers restrains the victim.

Then he fires bullets from an automatic rifle around him as the man howls incomprehensibly.

Sadistic Torture by Sheikh

At another point on the tape, the Sheikh can be seen telling the cameraman to come closer.

"Get closer. Get closer. Get closer. Let his suffering show," the Sheikh says.

Over the course of the tape, Sheikh Issa acts in an increasingly sadistic manner.

He uses an electric cattle prod against the man's testicles and inserts it in his anus.

At another point, as the man wails in pain, the Sheikh pours lighter fluid on the man's testicles and sets them aflame.

Then the tape shows the Sheikh sorting through some wooden planks. "I remember there was one that had a nail in it," he says on the tape.

The Sheikh then pulls down the pants of the victim and repeatedly strikes him with board and its protruding nail. At one point, he puts the nail next to the man's buttocks and bangs it through the flesh.

"Where's the salt," asks the Sheikh as he pours a large container of salt on to the man's bleeding wounds.

The victim pleads for mercy, to no avail.

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.

Sheikh Issa's lawyer, Daryl Bristow of Baker Botts in Houston, told ABC News "the tape is the tape."

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