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Sheikh Issa’s acquittal “questionable”

International human rights body Amnesty International…

January 13, 2010 4:13 by

International human rights body Amnesty International has said that the acquittal of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, by a UAE court was “very questionable.” Sheikh Issa was charged with endangering the life and “causing bodily harm and rape” of an Afghani merchant in 2004. The court acquitted him on Sunday, saying that he had been acting under the influence of drugs and so had “diminished liability” for the assault.

“We were not in court and so cannot be certain as to the judge’s reasoning, but this does appear to be a very questionable verdict”, said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program.

“It will do little to dispel concern that the sheikh’s position as a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family may have been the decisive factor in ensuring his acquittal, especially as it took the authorities several years even to bring the prosecution.”

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  1. Craig on January 14, 2010 11:50 am

    The court ruling was a foregone conclusion unfortuantely which has done nothing for the UAE’s image to the rest of the world. There was I believe a history of such actions taken by this man which I assume were also not taken into account.

    It seems a very easy defence ‘acting under the influence…’ and one that seems to be dragged up by a lot of defendants yet I can’t see how this totally excuses the actions taken. There are, at the very least, lesser charges that could have been brought to bear as there was I assume no question over whether it was him that did it, considering the existence of the dispicable video.

    To acquit is a travesty of justice, espcailly considering the ‘black and white’ approach taken by the law for us ordinary citizens…

  2. Noor on January 14, 2010 2:57 pm

    Is it also very wrong for a member of the ruling family to show the world that he is “under the influence of drugs”? while ordinary people are being rposecuted because they are consuming alcohol and takingd rugs, why can’t the government, proseucte Sheikh Issa – who by the way, carries the name of the Nahyan, a family being looked up by not only the Arab natin but by the world in general?

    If the defense of the Sheikh is that he is “under the influence of drugs” then I presume everyone in the UAe can take drugs and do horrible things and not get prosecuted?

  3. Suresh on January 15, 2010 9:03 am

    In simple words it is nothing but a “white wash”.

    But does any one really expect a member of any powerful ruling family in any of the Emirates ever having to face the “rule of law” like we understand the term in the rest of the world ?

    There is a saying in India ” The law is like a cobweb. Small flies and insects will get caught but a bird will fly through it with impunity: So is the case here – you can get fined for giving a car lift to a friend. You can get a month in jail for drinking alcohol, but you can buy a license to sell alcohol. You can go to jail if a single cheque bounces but “big” companies can default on billions of dollars of debt without any real consequences to be faced by anybody. A man can be jailed for years if he has a few grams of hashish in in his pocket , but international VIPs can pay lawyers to buy their freedom.

    And we all know what goes in the UAE behind closed doors of five star hotels and fancy villas with high walls.

    These countries need to stop pretending that they champion freedom , equality before the law etc. It is a farce and every one knows it.


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