• Germany's news in English

Tongues wagging over 'torture' sheikh's Bavarian second home

Kristen Allen · 12 May 2009, 12:23

Published: 12 May 2009 12:23 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The 2004 tape, broadcast by ABC News on April 22, features Al-Nahyan beating a bound Afghan man with a spiked board, inserting a cattle prod into his anus, lighting his testicles on fire, pouring salt in his wounds, and finally driving over him with a Mercedes SUV – with the sound of breaking bones clearly audible.

It was smuggled out of the United Arab Emirates and given to the station by Bassam Nabulsi, a former business associate of Sheikh Issa, who is suing him in a Houston court.

Footage of the shocking torture has caused an international uproar, threatening the reputation of the purportedly westernised Middle Eastern country. The UAE Ministry of the Interior confirmed to ABC that the man in the 45-minute video is Issa.

After initially saying the matter had been resolved between the sheikh and the torture victim, the country gave in to international pressure and detained Issa on house arrest Monday pending a criminal trial. If the case goes to trial, it would be the first-ever criminal prosecution of a UAE royal.

The dark desert torture scene is a far cry from Dietramzell’s pastoral alpine vistas. According to Gröbmaier, Issa, half-brother of the ruler of Abu Dhabi, bought a large equestrian estate there in 2006.

“It’s beautiful here, it has everything you could possibly want,” she told The Local. “We don’t get a lot of outsiders.”

The town of just 5,300 in the county of Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen has offered the sheikh and his family plenty of privacy, which he supplemented by buying up all of the public roads surrounding the opulent Gut Schlieckenried estate and closing them, according to the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“A few hundren thousand euros here and there play no role,” his local architect Gerhard Zach told daily tz, refusing to comment on the torture allegations.

While Issa’s expansion plans, brightly lit corrals and road closures didn’t particularly please local authorities, he has been described as a friendly neighbour, apt to show up at local barns as part of his equestrian interests, the paper said. One of Issa’s children was also reportedly born there.

But the new video has caused a stir among Dietramzell residents, as well as German media looking for more details on the activities of the “torture sheikh” in Bavaria.

“Of course people are talking about it, and everyone disapproves, it’s horrifying,” Gröbmaier said.

Story continues below…

At the same time, the mayor is loath to condemn the mysterious neighbour’s acts of torture – of which several other videos allegedly exist – recorded for him to watch afterwards in his home.

“This is a matter for justice,” she told The Local. “And German law enforcement has no jurisdiction over him anyway.”

Meanwhile, many residents have been frustrated by the media’s failure to address the well-being of Issa’s Afghan torture victim, she said.

“I can’t comprehend how television stations can allow footage of the torture to go on for minutes without any regard for his dignity or health, and we all feel that way,” she said.

Kristen Allen (kristen.allen@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd