UAE sheik acquitted in torture trial

Jan. 11, 2010 at 8:07 AM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A United Arab Emirates royal family member has been acquitted of torturing a man in a videotaped beating.

A court in Dubai Sunday found Sheik Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan not guilty on charges of causing bodily harm to an Afghan grain dealer, whose 2004 beating was taped and shown on U.S. television, CNN reported.

The three-hour tape apparently showed Issa beating the man with a nailed board, burning his genitals with a cigarette lighter, shocking him with a cattle prod and pouring salt into his wounds as a security guard looked on. But the court acquitted him, ruling that medication he had been given diminished his responsibility.

Issa had a "lack of criminal responsibility," the court found, defense attorney Habib al-Mulla told CNN, adding that the sheik "was under the influence of drugs" that "deprived him from his poise and caused him to carry out acts that were out of consciousness and that were photographed with the intention for later extortion."

Human Rights Watch has urged the UAE to "inquire more broadly into the prevalence of abuse and torture by security personnel, others in positions of authority, and private citizens."

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