An American consultant living in the United Arab Emirates has begun a one-year sentence in a maximum security prison after a spoof video was ruled a threat to national security.
Shezanne Cassim, 29, from Woodbury, near St Paul, Minnesota, is behind bars in an Emirates federal prison in the desert outside Abu Dhabi, while family members, lawyers and politicians in the US work diplomatic and legal channels in their attempts to free him.
He was sentenced for allegedly threatening UAE security and endangering public order with an online satirical video mocking affluent Emirates youth who mimic gangster street behaviour while actually enjoying pampered lifestyles.
Cassim was arrested and imprisoned last April, charged with breaking strict new UAE cybercrime laws. He was sentenced on Monday to a year’s imprisonment after already serving almost nine months in custody while awaiting trial. Full story...