Thursday, 30 April 2009

The torture tapes: A clue on which way the wind is blowing.

This is a press release from WAM dated 29th April '09. WAM is the Emirates News Agency effectively, the government's press office. While the statement doesn't "name names" its obviously a reaction to the international scrutiny being focused on the UAE following the general release of the tapes of Sheikh Issa torturing an Afghani trader accused of shortchanging the Sheikh in a grain deal.
The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates guarantees a number of fundamental rights including those set forth in Article 25 providing that all persons are equal before the law, without distinction in regard to race, nationality, religious belief and social status. The Human Rights Office (HRO) of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has viewed the contents of a video containing graphic scenes of physical abuse that has been widely circulated online and reported in international media. The Government of Abu Dhabi unequivocally condemns the actions depicted in the video. 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.

Based on the statement made by the UAE Ministry of Interior, the HRO of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department understands that the matter depicted on the video was resolved between the two parties and that no criminal charges were brought by either party. However, the HRO believes that the events depicted in the video appear to represent a violation of human rights and therefore these events should be fully reviewed in their own right.

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