Wednesday, 16 December 2009

"Sheikh Issa was drugged" claims lawyer

Source: The National
A member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family who is accused of torturing an Afghan man was drugged against his will when the incident took place and cannot be held responsible, a government-owned newspaper on Tuesday quoted his lawyer as saying at his trial.
"My client does not remember what happened that night. He did not have the mental capacity. Because he was drugged against his will, he cannot be held responsible," The National quoted Habib al-Mulla, lawyer for Sheikh Issa bin Zayed, as saying.
Allegations against the sheikh, who is the brother of UAE president and Abu Dhabi emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, emerged after US network ABC aired a video in April that appears to show him beating a man with whips, electric cattle prods and a wooden plank with protruding nails.
Assisted by police, Sheikh Issa is seen to pour salt in the man's wounds and run over him with a sports utility vehicle.
The victim needed months of hospital care following the incident. He was reportedly an Afghan trader who lost a load of grain worth 5,000 dollars.
In a rare trial of a high-ranking member of the ruling family, Sheikh Issa stands accused of endangering a life, causing bodily harm, and rape for the incident which allegedly took place in 2004, The National said.
Sheikh Issa's lawyer said that one of the sheikh's seven co-defendants was responsible for Sheikh Issa's medications and drugged him, then videotaped the incident and tried to blackmail him, The National reported.
The paper said that Mulla presented a letter that was allegedly from the lawyer of the co-defendant and his brother demanding 68 million dollars for the tape to be destroyed.
Mulla also argued for the charges to be dismissed on the grounds that the UAE's Federal Supreme Court had previously ruled that video evidence of a crime scene was inadmissible, the newspaper reported.
The trial was adjourned until later this month, when a forensic expert is to testify on the potential effects of the drugs Sheikh Issa is said to have been given, The National said.

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