UAE, an oasis of cosmopolitanism…

More bad PR for the United Arab Emirates, which has attempted to paint itself as an oasis of cosmopolitanism and entrepreneurialism in the Arab world.

First, the Dubai debt bubble burst in the middle of last year, as investors started to realise that Dubai didn’t actually have any oil, and relied entirely on foreign leverage for its castles in the sand.  Dubai had to be bailed out by the neighbouring province of Abu Dhabi.

Then, a good Panorama documentary earlier this month exposed how Dubai’s construction boom was built by Indian workers living in slave-like conditions.

The city is also teeming with prostitutes from around the world, particularly the former Soviet Union, many of whom are also, in effect, sex slaves – they have to hand their passports to their pimps until they earn enough money to buy them back.

Now, a video has emerged of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, the brother of the emir of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad, torturing an Afghan business partner in the desert for allegedly cheating him out of money.

He rather stupidly shot the video of the torture himself, presumably to enjoy later. It consists of 45 minutes of him and some police officers doing various really nasty things to the unfortunate businessman, setting fire to him, electrocuting him, pouring salt on his wounds (literally) and finally running him over in a Mercedes.

“Get closer”, shouts the excited Sheikh at one point. “Show the suffering on his face.”

Miraculously, the Afghan businesssman survived, which the government of the UAE has used as an excuse to avoid pressing any charges on the sadistic Sheikh, who is also brother of the minister of interior.

Ah, the UAE, what an oasis of tolerance is there.