Royal Sheikh Detained by UAE Over Torture Tape Allegations

ABC News report spurs investigation of royal sheikh's sadistic beatings.

ByABC News
April 22, 2009, 1:22 PM

May 8, 2009— -- A member of the royal family in the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, has been "detained" in Abu Dhabi by authorities investigating a chilling videotape that shows him torturing an Afghan grain dealer, according to officials in Washington.

UAE officials told American diplomats the Sheikh was put under "house arrest" this week and prevented from leaving the country as the UAE Ministry of Justice conducts a criminal investigation of the incidents on the videotape, the officials said.

The 45-minute torture tape, first broadcast on ABC News Nightline two weeks ago, shows the Sheikh, the brother of the UAE crown prince, beating his victim with an electric cattle prod and a wooden plank with protruding nails. Men in police uniform are seen on the tape restraining the victim, who has sand shoved down his throat and is later repeatedly run over by a Mercedes Benz SUV driven by the Sheikh.

Click here to watch the Nightline investigation.

After first insisting the case was closed and settled privately, UAE authorities reversed course. Officials told ABCNews.com that other individuals seen on the tape who worked for Sheikh Issa have also been detained in the investigation.

The detention of the Sheikh comes amid rising outrage in Congress and from human rights groups. The tape has been widely viewed internationally on ABCNews.com since the original broadcast.

"I am encouraged by this news, but I'm not yet entirely satisfied," said Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), the chairman of the House Human Rights Commission.

McGovern plans to hold hearings on the UAE human rights record next week, as Congress considers approval of a U.S. plan to provide the gulf country with fuel for nuclear power plants.

"The UAE should demonstrate that their commitment to human rights and the rule of law goes beyond detaining Sheik Issa—there should be a thorough, credible judicial proceeding," said McGovern.

\"I am encouraged by this news, but I'm not yet entirely satisfied,\" said Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), the chairman of the House Human Rights Commission.

McGovern plans to hold hearings on the UAE human rights record next week, as Congress considers approval of a U.S. plan to provide the gulf country with fuel for nuclear power plants.

\"The UAE should demonstrate that their commitment to human rights and the rule of law goes beyond detaining Sheik Issa—there should be a thorough, credible judicial proceeding,\" said McGovern.","publishedDate":"2009-04-22T17:22:19Z","contributors":[{"name":"ABC News","url":"","role":"","logo":"","logoAlt":""}],"modifiedDate":"2009-05-08T17:21:13Z","section":"Blotter","wordCount":316,"relatedTags":{"heading":"Related Topics","tags":[]},"lead":{"ratio":"16x9","disableForMobile":false,"type":"xl","mediaType":"image","alignCaptionToBody":true},"ads":{"Sticky":{"kvps":{"test":true}},"RightRail":{"kvps":{"test":true}},"InlineBox":{},"InlineOutstream":{"disabled":false},"Taboola":{"position":"bottom","pageType":"article","config":{"network":"abcnews-abcnews","mode":"thumbnails-a","container":"taboola-below-article-thumbnails","type":"article","targetType":"mix","placement":"Below Article Thumbnails"}}},"featuredVideo":null,"dateline":"May 8, 2009—","seo":{},"LivePromotion":{}},"autoUpdate":{"enabled":false,"topics":["general-elections-2020-balance-of-power"]}},"upw":{"balanceOfPower":{"electoral":{"header":"Biden Projected to be President-Elect","candidates":{"democrats":{"id":1036,"displayName":"Joe Biden","shortDisplayName":"J. 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