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  1. #1
    Lord of Swine
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    American Sentenced to Year Jail and Fine for Paraody Video

    An American living in the United Arab Emirates was sentenced to a year in jail on Monday after a court ruled that a satirical video he posted on YouTube threatened national security, his family said.
    The family of 29-year-old Shezanne 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 (about $2,700).
    Cassim was detained in April under strict new cybercrime laws after posting the video entitled "Satwa Combat School," a parody about affluent Dubai teenagers trying to adopt tough-guy personas.
    His case has sparked the #freeshez campaign. This has been backed by among others the website Funny Or Die, which is co-founded by "Anchorman" star Will Ferrell.
    Following the sentencing, his brother Shervon Cassim told NBC News: "We are utterly horrified, and hurt, and outraged by this.




    Cassim was convicted under federal cybercrimes law of endangering the U.A.E.’s national security, family spokeswoman Jennifer Gore said.
    Both Gore and Cassim said they have had "no explanation" from the Emirati government of why the video was a threat to national security.
    They said there is no avenue for appeal but have vowed not to give up hope.
    U.A.E. officials did not respond to NBC News' requests for comment on the case.
    Three weeks before his arrest, Cassim got a job as a business consultant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Dubai, where he moved after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2006. The international business consultancy would not comment on Cassim's case.
    Cassim, who had also worked for a subsidiary Emirates Airlines, was born in Sri Lanka but grew up living for stretches in the U.A.E. and Woodbury, Minn.
    Gore said that on being arrested Cassim offered to immediately delete the video, only to be laughed at by police who asked, mockingly: "How can you take down the video? YouTube is a company in America." He was then asked to sign a statement in Arabic, which he does not understand, Gore said.
    He was held for almost five months without being charged and then transferred to a maximum-security prison in the middle of the desert, according to Gore.
    She added that his sentencing has been postponed five times and he has never been allowed to meet a lawyer.
    His brother, who last spoke to Cassim on Sunday, the day before the sentencing, said that he has not been physically abused during his detention, but he has lost a lot of weight.
    "He just wants to come out, he is very frustrated," he said. "He is going stir-crazy in his prison cell. It is hard for us to give him anything to pass the time, like books or a pen and paper. Right now he has almost nothing."
    The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi said Monday that consular personnel were at the court hearing.
    State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf discussed Cassim during a press briefing last week.
    “We, both here at the Department of State and at the U.S. mission in the U.A.E., are troubled by the prolonged incarceration of him,” she told reporters.
    Harf added that diplomatic personnel have regularly visited Cassim.
    “We’ve also, on the ground, engaged with U.A.E counterparts to urge a fair and expedient trial and judgment,” she said.

    US consultant Shezanne Cassim sentenced to year in UAE jail for posting satirical video - World News

  2. #2
    Lord of Swine
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    No sense of humor these ragheads.
    (Not that the video is very funny)

    Careful you don't record any protest songs Betty...

  3. #3
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    I watched a bit of the video last night. What a pile of crap, they should have got two years minimum as a deterrent to other retards.

  4. #4
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    He deserves to go to jail for making such a shite video...

  5. #5
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    anonymity on the internet should be taught in school

  6. #6
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    He got less time than David44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99
    Careful you don't record any protest songs Betty...
    Indeed, does make you wonder; for all their niceness and 'western ways', theya re still...

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    this is the place that whacked the woman for naming the bear mohammed innit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99
    Careful you don't record any protest songs Betty...
    Indeed, does make you wonder; for all their niceness and 'western ways', theya re still...
    They'll pick and choose the Western aspects in which might benefit, and dash those that seem threatening.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevvr View Post
    this is the place that whacked the woman for naming the bear mohammed innit?
    No, that was Sudan. Peace there since Southern Sudan with the Christians split off, but civil war amongst them.

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    wayy off. sure it was in the uae.

    but my bad if you can give a link. woman was american or canadian don't remember.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99
    a satirical video he posted on YouTube threatened national security
    Threatened National security?
    Fvcking pussies

  13. #13
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    Not coolm

  14. #14
    I don't know barbaro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99 View Post
    No sense of humor these ragheads.
    Nope.

    I miserable bunch.

  15. #15
    Mid
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    American recounts experiences of UAE prison
    AMY FORLITI
    January 17, 2014


    Shezanne Cassim poses for the picture in the office of his attorney, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, in Minneapolis. The American who spent nine months in prison in the United Arab Emirates for posting a satirical video online says he felt fear at times and was kept in filthy conditions. Cassim was accused of violating the country’s cybercrimes law. He says he did nothing wrong by posting his parody video online.
    Photo By Amy Forliti AP

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An American held in the United Arab Emirates for nine months for his role in an online parody video about youth culture in Dubai said Friday that he was scared at times and was kept in filthy conditions where guards "shouted at everyone like dogs."

    In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, Shezanne Cassim said the lowest point of his ordeal came when he learned he was being transferred to a maximum-security prison in Abu Dhabi — and the gravity of his situation set in.

    "At that moment, I felt fear," he said. "It no longer ... felt like it was something ridiculous that could be just sorted out. At that point it was like, 'Is this really happening?'"

    Friday's interview marked the first time Cassim, 29, has publicly shared his account of some details about his confinement.

    Cassim was living and working in Dubai when he was arrested last April — months after posting his satirical video online. He was moved to the Abu Dhabi prison in June, and was eventually charged with endangering state security under a 2012 cybercrimes law that tightened penalties for challenging authorities.

    He and seven others were convicted and sentenced. Cassim was released earlier this month and returned to his family in Minnesota. Cassim's attorney, Susan Burns, said all the co-defendants who were detained have now been released.

    Cassim, who grew up in Dubai, said he and his friends made the video to celebrate the city's diverse culture and create some local entertainment. The video, titled "Ultimate Combat System: The Deadly Satwa Gs," pokes fun at a segment of Dubai youth and shows fictional "combat" training, such as using a mobile phone to call for help.

    "When I made the video, I didn't think I was doing anything wrong," he said.

    The video had been online for about six months, when suddenly the number of views spiked, and Cassim got called to the police station.

    Cassim was questioned for about an hour, as police asked: "Who has paid you to make this video? How much are they paying you? Who is behind this?" he recalled.

    "Naturally I was quite shocked at hearing these kinds of questions," he said. "But you know, we tried to convey the message, 'Look it's just a joke. We're not part of anything.'"

    He said he was shuffled overnight from room to room and told to sign a statement, which he didn't understand because it was in Arabic. He took a polygraph test and passed, despite a slight panic when asked whether he was part of a foreign anti-government organization.

    He thought he would be allowed to leave. Instead handcuffs came out.

    "I didn't know I was under arrest or that there was any crime," he said. "I thought that this was so ridiculous that it's going to get sorted out in a couple of days."

    Cassim said he stayed for about two months in the Dubai jail, where guards "shouted at everyone like dogs" and conducted room searches in full riot gear. The food was abysmal, and for a time Cassim ate just enough bread to keep himself going.

    He said the conditions were unsanitary. Blankets were shared without being washed, and 130 people had to use a communal bathroom.

    "The smell was horrendous," he said, adding that he thought the toilets were made of clay until one detainee cleaned them — only to find they were metal and had been covered with caked-on feces. When the communal sink was cleaned with bleach, he said, black maggots crawled out from the tile.

    Cassim said outside the jail, where detainees were listed alongside their alleged crimes, the entry next to his name said "under investigation."

    When he was transferred to the prison, his movements became more controlled. He said he had no access to television, newspapers or books, and phone calls were restricted to three times a week.

    The prison's air conditioning stopped working in the middle of the summer, and for a couple months, temperatures inside reached 90 degrees, he said.

    Still, he and his co-defendants kept each other going, and week after week, he kept believing he'd be released. But repeated court hearings, and repeated postponements with no action, were like "psychological torture," he said.

    Cassim said it's great to be home, and he thanked those who worked on his release. After having his life upended, he is spending time with his family and trying to sort out what he'll do next.

    When asked if he was considering legal action, Cassim said that everything is on the table. He may write a book, he said, or look for ways to help the UAE improve its justice system — especially after Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and the prime minister of the UAE, told BBC this week that the way Cassim was treated was unsatisfactory, and the UAE would work to fix mistakes.

    "I agree with him to a limited extent ... but it was more than a mistake," Cassim said. "I feel betrayed by the government. ... To be honest, I still don't entirely know what the crime was."

    chron.com

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