Dubai ruler says treatment of jailed American was a mistake

Sheikh Mohammed admits the way the UAE dealt with man who posted parody video on YouTube was unsatisfactory
Shezanne Cassim
By Reuters
Mon 13 Jan 2014 01:15 PM

The prime minister of the United Arab Emirates said on Monday that the treatment of a US citizen who spent nine months in jail for posting a parody video on YouTube was unfair, and suggested it was a mistake the UAE would learn from.

Shezanne Cassim was detained in April and sentenced to a year in prison in the Gulf Arab state in December on cybercrime charges for his video, a 20-minute "mockumentary" that pokes fun at young Emirati men who imitate US hip-hop culture.

Asked by the British broadcaster BBC whether Cassim had been treated in a satisfactory way, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: "No ... We are not perfect and we try to change it. Any mistakes, we go in and try to change it. We're not perfect, but we are doing our best."

Cassim, who was also fined AED10,000 ($2,700), was released last week and returned home to the United States, saying he had done nothing wrong.

He said he had been held with limited information in a prison with few facilities, and not told what crime he was accused of until about five months after he was apprehended.

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