Afghan Torture Victim Convicted of Repeatedly Running into Sheikh Issa’s Fist

Posted on January 11, 2010


EP: Duabi – An Afghan grain dealer, Mohammed Shahpoor, has been convicted  in a United Arab Emirates court of repeatedly running into the fist and torture instruments of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the half brother of Abu Dhabi’s president.  The decision was handed down after Sheikh Issa was cleared of all counts of torture stemming from the  same altercation between the two individuals in 2004. The incident became internationally known when a videotape of the event was broadcast on ABC News. “I was standing in the desert with  my cattle prod,  my rusted-nail board and my clenched fist minding my own business” explained Sheikh Issa to reporters outside the courthouse, “and this Afghan man came out of nowhere and repeatedly bludgeoned himself on my fist and various accessories.  When I tried to drive away, he ran right under the tires. What really shocked me was when he tried to sodomize himself on my cattle prod. I mean really, what has the world come to?”

In this screen grab from the video of the altercation between Sheikh Issa an Afghan grain dealer, the Afghan is seen capturing sand in his mouth and spitting it onto Sheikh Issa.

Sheikh Issa became visibly upset when a reporter asked him whether Shahpoor’s human rights had been violated. “What about my rights?” Issa yelled back “what about my right to carry around my cattle prod in the desert without being molested?” When asked what he will do now that he was exonerated of all charges, Sheikh Issa responded by saying  “I’ll probably beat the hell out of some immigrants.”

Shahpoor, who was fined 10,000 dirhams for inconveniencing Sheikh Issa, will be sentenced for the more  serious crime of “Damaging Royal Property” in the next six weeks. The cattle prod remains inoperable. Several legal experts say that the Afghan will likely receive the death penalty. “Actually, a state-administered death is probably the best Mr. Shahpoor can hope for at this point, because if he is released back into the public Shekh Issa will probably kill him in his own way” said Jamal Said, a professor of Law at the University of Dubai. Shahpoor was unavailable for comment after the trial as he was bussed to a nearby construction site. “The UAE needs to squeeze as much manual labor out of him as they can before he is dead” said a court official who was responsible for prisoner transfers.

Some outside observers are hailing the trial as a landmark event and a sign of increasing judicial independence on the part of the court system. “Many criticize legal institutions inside the UAE because  laws are formulated by the royal family on an ad-hoc basis and then promulgated by judges who are appointed by the same royal family” explained Cedric Johnson, a legal expert who has written a book on UAE judicial system , “but what we see here is a royal family member who was actually accused of a crime, stood trial and abided by the verdict. It clearly demonstrates the increasing robustness of institutions in the UAE.”


Emirati court clears Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahayan of torture (Times Online)

ABC News Exclusive: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Royal Sheikh (ABC News)