UAE trial of American postponed again

Shezzane Cassim was arrested on charges of endangering national security after uploading a parody video to YouTube.

    Emirati authorities held US citizen Shezzane Cassim for five months before revealing charges against him [AP]
    Emirati authorities held US citizen Shezzane Cassim for five months before revealing charges against him [AP]

    A court in the United Arab Emirates has adjourned the trial of an American jailed since April for making a YouTube video that mocks Dubai teenagers, his family said.

    It was announced on Monday that the trial of 29-year-old Shezzane Cassim will resume on December 23.

    "This is the sixth consecutive postponement of a final judgement," his family said in a statement.

    Cassim has been in custody for eight months over charges of endangering the UAE's national security under a federal cyber crimes law.

    "We were hoping that since the court finally got a translation of the video that the court would see the video is fictional, as it says on the initial screen shot," said Cassim's brother, Shervon, in the statement.

    The 19-minute video, titled the "Satwa Comedy School," parodies teenagers who live in the Satwa district.

    The video shows the teens wearing hip-hop clothes and listening to rap music when, in reality, they are known for their tame behaviour.

    Maximum-security prison

    In the mockumentary, Cassim and his friends learn the latest techniques of "Satwa G's combat" which include the correct way to throw a shoe at a newspaper and how to use a mobile phone to call for back-up when necessary.

    Washington is "troubled by the prolonged incarceration" of Cassim, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

    The US State Department has also expressed concern over the UAE's cyber crime law and has raised Cassim's case with Emirate authorities.

    Cassim has lived in the UAE since 2006 and works for Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC).

    Authorities held Cassim for five months before notifying him of the charges against him. The other non-US nationals involved in the making of the video have also been jailed and charged.

    Cassim is being held in a maximum-security prison located outside Abu Dhabi.

    SOURCE: AFP


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