Archive for April 23rd, 2009
Straight from ABC News: “A video tape smuggled out of the United Arab Emirates shows a member of the country’s royal family mercilessly torturing a man with whips, electric cattle prods and wooden planks with protruding nails.
A man in a UAE police uniform is seen on the tape tying the victim’s arms and legs, and later holding him down as the Sheikh pours salt on the man’s wounds and then drives over him with his Mercedes SUV.
In a statement to ABC News, the UAE Ministry of the Interior said it had reviewed the tape and acknowledged the involvement of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, brother of the country’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed.
“The incidents depicted in the video tapes were not part of a pattern of behavior,” the Interior Ministry’s statement declared.
The Minister of the Interior is also one of Sheikh Issa’s brother.
The government statement said its review found “all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department.”"
I’ve been unable to locate a copy of this video, so I am currently unable to verify this recount of the Sheikh’s actions:
“He uses an electric cattle prod against the man’s testicles and inserts it in his anus.
At another point, as the man wails in pain, the Sheikh pours lighter fluid on the man’s testicles and sets them aflame.
Then the tape shows the Sheikh sorting through some wooden planks. “I remember there was one that had a nail in it,” he says on the tape.
The Sheikh then pulls down the pants of the victim and repeatedly strikes him with board and its protruding nail. At one point, he puts the nail next to the man’s buttocks and bangs it through the flesh.
“Where’s the salt,” asks the Sheikh as he pours a large container of salt on to the man’s bleeding wounds.”
The victim pleads for mercy, to no avail.
The final scene on the tape shows the Sheikh positioning his victim on the desert sand and then driving over him repeatedly. A sound of breaking bones can be heard on the tape.
The torture victim was identified by Nabulsi as an Afghan grain dealer, Mohammed Shah Poor, who the Sheikh accused of short changing on a grain delivery to his royal ranch on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.”
Straight from TorrentFreak: “It’s been almost a week since the verdicts of one year in prison and heavy financial damages were passed against the four accused in the Pirate Bay trial. The sentence seemed surprisingly tough to many analysts, with the court chosing to judge on intent only, dismissing all technical evidence.
But did The Pirate Bay Four receive a fair trial? Today, an event on Swedish national radio SR threw everything into doubt – and it’s barely believable, like something straight out of Hollywood.
The copyright industry likes to have the outcome of processes clear before engaging them so it’s perhaps unsurprising that SR today revealed that the judge Tomas Norström is in league with it on many fronts. The judge has several engagements – together with the prosecution lawyers for the movie and music industries.
Swedish Association of Copyright (SFU) – The judge Tomas Norström is a member of this discussion forum that holds seminars, debates and releases the Nordic Intellectual Property Law Review. Other members of this outfit? Henrik Pontén (Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau), Monique Wadsted (movie industry lawyer) and Peter Danowsky (IFPI) – the latter is also a member of the board of the association.
Swedish Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (SFIR) – The judge Tomas Norström sits on the board of this association that works for stronger copyright laws. Last year they held the Nordic Championships in Intellectual Property Rights Process Strategies.
.SE (The Internet Infrastructure Foundation) – Tomas Norström works for the foundation that oversees the .se name domain and advises on domain name disputes. His colleague at the foundation? Monique Wadsted. Wadsted says she’s never met Norström although they have worked together.
Commenting on the revelations, Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde brokep said, “Spectrial Cliffhanger in S01 with the verdict – S02 started with the judge being biased. Reality beats fiction yet again!”
There are several renowned lawyers and judicial commentators that are attacking Tomas Norström’s decision to take the case, in spite of having a clear conflict of interest.
“I wouldn’t have taken the case,” says former judicial ombudsman Rune Lavin.
Former Director of Public Prosecution Sven-Erik Alhem said, “You cannot hide controversial facts. The attention this gets only leads to unnecessary questioning of bias in Swedish courts. Of course the judge should have informed people of the situation prior to the process and thereby allowed the involved parties to decide if it was suitable or not.”
Lawyer Leif Silbersky made a comment all Pirate Bay supporters want to hear, “If the lawyers [for the defense] act on this immediately, this could mean a re-trial.”
Peter Sunde’s lawyer Peter Althin says he has already put in a request for a re-trial. “In my appeal, I will claim the court was biased and that the appeal court should cancel the verdict and re-submit the case to the district court,” he said.
And the judge himself? “Every time I accept a case I make an assessment on whether I am part of it or not. But I have not felt that I am biased because of those commitments,” he said.
During the trial it was the judge, Tomas Norström, that was responsible for ensuring that the trial was fair and that the lay judges did not act in their own interests.
Previously one of the original lay judges in the case had to step down when his involvement in a music rights group became known;
“Three lay judges were appointed,” said Judge Norström one week before the trial. “On a question from me to the lay judges on whether they had any involvement in copyright associations or similar, or if they are or have been artists one of them answered Yes.”
That lay judge was removed. It’s anyone’s guess why the judge didn’t think the same should apply to him.
Whether or not Tomas Norström allowed his personal interests to get in the way of a fair verdict is open for debate, but there can’t be an intelligent human being reading this news that doesn’t feel that it would’ve been better for everyone if he simply backed away from this case and let someone else take over. He has compromised the entire case and verdict.
Rick Falkvinge of Sweden’s Pirate Party said the revelations were indicative of “corruption on a completely unforgivable level.””