11 Jan 2010

Sheikh cleared of torture charge

12:52 pm on 11 January 2010

A court in the United Arab Emirates has cleared the brother of Abu Dhabi's crown prince of torturing an Aghan business associate.

Lawyers for Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the president's brother, said the court ruled he had been drugged and so was "unaware of his actions".

The BBC reports the incident came to light when a videotape showing a violent beating, said to have taken place in 2004.

It shows Sheikh Issa repeatedly beating Mr Poor, a grain merchant of Afghan origin, and running him over with a car.

The merchant had reportedly lost a consignment of grain belonging to Sheikh Issa worth $US5000. He needed extensive hospital treatment.

Several other men assist on the tape, including one in a uniform of the security forces.

It was the first reported investigation of a UAE ruling family member.

ABC TV News in the United States broadcast excerpts of the tape last year, when it was smuggled out of the UAE by a former business associate of the sheik.