Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Little response from US on UAE torture verdict

This is from The Majlis discussing US reaction to the recent aquital of Sheikh Issa in Abu Dhabi. 
The victim of the attack, Mr Shahpoor, is now suing the Nabulsi brothers for defamation.  Mr Shahpoor is seeking Dh100,000 in compensation for the emotional and moral damages he claims to have suffered since the video was broadcast on television and the internet without his consent.
There are unconfirmed stories that Mr Shahpoor was in court on the day of the verdict and greeted Sheikh Issa with kisses on both cheeks.. 
Source: Gregg Carlstrom, The Majlis 11 Jan '10
Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nayhan, the brother of the president of the United Arab Emirates, was acquitted yesterday of torture charges by an Emirati court -- despite a videotape that shows him assaulting an Afghan man.

The brutal assault was filmed in 2004, and originally broadcast last year on the American television network ABC. The tape shows Sheikh Issa assaulting the man with whips and wooden planks, shocking him with cattle prods, and driving over his foot with an SUV. Sheikh Issa was assisted by several men, at least one of them wearing a UAE police uniform.

The victim, Mohammed Shah Poor, allegedly shortchanged Nayhan on a grain delivery to his ranch.

Al-Jazeera posted excerpts of the video, which runs nearly 45 minutes in its entirety.

Yesterday's verdict was undeniably a miscarriage of justice. The UAE's interior ministry acknowledged last year that Sheikh Issa was the man in the tape; there was no doubt, in other words, that he tortured Poor. Issa's defense attorney claimed he was drugged at the time.

"The court acquitted Sheikh Issa after establishing he was not responsible," for the torture, lawyer Habib al-Mulla said on Sunday.

"The court accepted our defence that the Sheikh was under the influence of drugs [medicine] that left him unaware of his actions," al-Mulla said.

When the tape first aired, in April, there was some concern that it would spike a proposed civilian nuclear framework agreement between the United States and the UAE. That's why the UAE government detained Sheikh Issa and held him in confinement for the last seven months.

Now the deal is finished -- and the farcical verdict earned only modest condemnations from the United States. (I know, I know: It's hypocritical for the U.S. government, which officially condoned torture for years and has yet to punish the torturers, to criticize another government for sweeping torture under the rug. We'll ignore that; hypocrisy rarely stops the U.S. government.)

Here's State Department press flack PJ Crowley:  We recognize that all members of Emirati society must stand equal before the law, and we remain concerned for the victim of this horrible crime. We would welcome a careful review of the judge's decision and an assessment of all available legal options to ensure that the demands of justice are fully met in this case, and we will continue to closely monitor it.

Hardly a strong condemnation of the verdict. The administration's decision to largely ignore the verdict speaks volumes about the perceived importance of the UAE -- a strategic ally in the region, America's largest military customer -- and also about the administration's hopes for the nuclear framework agreement (which was actually designed by the Bush administration).

The White House wants to construct a "right way" for countries to pursue nuclear power -- as opposed to the "wrong way" pursued by Iran -- and it believes this nuclear agreement will set that example. So it's not going to call attention to yesterday's verdict; if it does, it might face pressure to reconsider nuclear cooperation with the UAE.

1 comment:

  1. So the poor innocent guy suffer's yet again, as it's only one guy compared to the bigger picture between the US & UAE!! Politics stinks MOST OF THE TIME!!! C x :-(