x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Inquiry into royal abuse allegation

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department says that "justice will run its course" in the investigation into allegations against Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

An investigation into the alleged abuse of an Afghan man by a member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family is continuing, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department said yesterday. The department launched the inquiry in late April following the airing of a video purporting to show Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan carrying out the abuse. In a statement issued yesterday, the department's prosecution office said it was "engaging with those involved in the case in order to reach a clear understanding of all pertinent aspects and circumstances".

The goal, it said, was to serve justice "according to the rule of law". Media reports have identified the victim of the attack as Mohammed Shah Poor, an Afghan trader with whom Sheikh Issa is said to have had a dispute concerning a grain delivery. Mr Shah Poor is said to still be living in the UAE. The Judicial Department said Sheikh Issa's lawyer, Habib al Mulla, was "following up" the investigation.

Investigators have sought a high level of transparency in the case, the statement said, as part of a broader effort to ensure equal protection under the law. "Justice will run its course ... regardless of any external factors, with the United Arab Emirates taking responsibility for assuring adherence to the sovereignty of law and its enforcement on all living in the country," the statement said. In the video, a man identified by an American television report as Sheikh Issa is seen directing and taking part in the sustained abuse, aided by other men, one of them apparently in the uniform of a palace guard.

The case came to light when a former business associate of Sheikh Issa, Bassam Nabulsi, of Houston, Texas, leaked the video to an American network. Mr Nabulsi has been involved in a protracted legal action against Sheikh Issa. * The National