A young American has been sentenced to a year in prison for a youtube parody video in the UAE, a US ally. The family of 29-year-old Shez Cassim said they were "utterly horrified" and "inconsolable" after he was given a one-year prison sentence and fined 10,000 U.A.E. dirhams.
A Minnesotan who posted a parody video about youth culture in Dubai is being held by authorities as the first foreigner arrested under tougher measures governing internet use in the United Arab Emirates.
The charges against 29-year-old Shezanne Cassim of Woodbury reflect the wider social media crackdowns by Gulf Arab authorities.
The YouTube video begins with a disclaimer that the following events are fictional and no offense was intended for the people of Satwa and the UAE.
Most tellingly, where are the mass marches of "moderate" Muslims in the country, denouncing the sharia and its vicious blasphemy laws?
Where is the big, brash left in America? Where are Colbert and Stewart? Penn and Belafonte? And the feeble campaigns that I have seen make no mention of the sharia -- the reason that this young man was jailed. If they won't talk about why and how he was jailed, how can they hope to change things?
Where is the Obama administration? The man does not have our back. Indeed, he has demonstrated time and time again, from Benghazi to Boston, that he is the most powerful enemy of freedom.
"Minn. man sentenced to 1 year in Dubai video case," KARE.11, December 23, 2013
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - A Minnesota man tried under a cybercrimes law in the United Arab Emirates has been found guilty and sentenced to one year in prison after posting a parody video about youth culture in Dubai.
The state-owned Abu Dhabi-based The National says the State Security Court issued sentences to 29-year-old Shezanne Cassim and seven other defendants on Monday in a case that has generated international interest.
The paper says the American, which it identified only by his initials, also faces a more than $2,700 fine and will be deported after completing his sentence. His co-defendants were not named. They got between eight months and a year.
A spokeswoman for Cassim's family, Jennifer Gore, confirmed the guilty verdict and sentence but had no other details.
Cassim graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2006.