Minnesotan close to release from United Arab Emirates
MINNEAPOLIS — An American who's been held in the United Arab Emirates for nine months in connection with a satirical online video about youth culture in Dubai was expected to be released soon, the State Department said on Tuesday.
Shezanne Cassim, 29, of Woodbury, Minn., was arrested in April, six months after he and others uploaded their spoof documentary to the Internet.
The United Arab Emirates-owned daily The National has said Cassim and his co-defendants were accused of defaming the country's image abroad. Cassim's supporters said he was charged with endangering state security under a 2012 cybercrimes law that tightened penalties for challenging authorities.
Cassim has been in the maximum security prison at Abu Dhabi since June. In December, he was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison, a fine and deportation.
Pooja Jhunjhunwala, a State Department spokeswoman, said that Cassim has been moved to a deportation facility for processing.
“We understand processing will take a few days, at which point he will be returning to the United States,” she said, adding: “We continue to work closely with the UAE authorities to ensure his quick release.”
Cassim's family said he is out of his cell block and in a deportation processing section of the prison. They expect him to return home this week.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Worries mount of unleashed ‘Taliban 5’
- Defense chief says U.S. can fly over South China Sea
- Growth potential remains for online gambling
- Morgan settles lawsuit with Wal-Mart over crash
- IRS believes identity thieves are from Russia
- Charged Baltimore officers seek change of venue
- Fossils point to relative of ‘Lucy’ species
- Nebraska lawmakers ban death penalty
- Lawyer argues in New York court that chimpanzees have same rights as humans
- 12 missing after flooding in Texas sweeps away vacation home
- Cleanup begins from deadly flooding in Texas amid continuing rain