ABC News Exclusive: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Royal Sheikh
Police in uniform join in as victim whipped, beaten, electrocuted, run over.
April 22, 2009— -- 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.
"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.
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.