A Minnesota man, who’s spent the last eight months in a United Arab Emirates prison will stay behind bars for at least another week.
Shezanne — or “Shez” — Cassim is being held in jail for this 19-minute YouTube video. The 'mockumentary' is reportedly a satire on the UAE’s youth culture. According to CNN — (Via YouTube / ViaCancel )
“There really is very little in there that would suggest any kind of threat to the nation, however it is being looked at very differently by UAE authorities.”
UAE says the video violates cybercrime laws. Cassim, along with four other men who worked on the video, were in court Monday.
The judge didn’t rule on the case, instead the Star Tribune reports another court appearance is scheduled for next Monday. Cassim’s brother said in a statement, “We cannot tell you how much heartache our family feels every day.”
WCCO reports Cassim has been working in Dubai since he graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2006.
“In his eight months of captivity, Cassim’s been denied bail, due process and was forced to sign Arabic documents he can’t even read.”
And the story gets more complicated. The section of the cybercrime law Cassim and his friends reportedly violated — Article 28 — was introduced a month after the video was posted.
Also, the first thing viewers see is this screen, saying the video is “fictional” and its creators meant “no offense to the UAE." (Via YouTube / ViaCancel)
Comedians with Funny or Die, including Will Ferrell, created this video for Cassim.
“Shez, stay stong. Funny or Die supports you, and we support you.”
The U.S. State Department is following the case. Staff with the embassy in Abu Dhabi has also visited Cassim in prison.