Dubai ruler says treatment of jailed American was a mistake

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Shezanne Cassim

Shezanne Cassim

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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Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Jaber

At the end of the day, foreigners must respect the laws of their hosts and not conduct themselves as if they are in their bedrooms. Before pointing any finger at the laws of the land, it is high time foreigners conduct themselves in a civilized and mature manner, adults must behave as adults not impetuous adolescents.

Posted by: DNS

Before you go any further Jaber, let me remind you that some of the people in the video are UAE nationals too :) So there, your attitude towards foreigners has been spotted.

Posted by: curious

Well done for NOT saying "guests" Jaber.

Those that use that word never mean it in its true form, and if used, it is always in a pejorative context.

Foreigners reveals so much more intent!

Posted by: john smith

I think all of you are missing the point here . This should have never happened. they have so much investment from foreigners and yet you are treated like a beggar. first of all they need to apologize and second they would need to compensate him. what about the poor Indian who was put in jail filming a local heating another Indian . this is shameful and human right needs to be involved. this is a country which wakes up and makes rules.

Posted by: Telcoguy

Actually the situation is even more interesting, if my understanding of the law is correct, an analyst publishing a negative note on Nakheel or Dubai World or any other Government owned/linked company (essentially all of them in this part of the world) may be accused also of "damaging to the country's reputation "

Maybe I am wrong, but if my memory serves me well this was approved around 2009-2010

Posted by: Ferdinand Lama

Having lived and still living in the UAE for so many years, I cannot but be impressed daily with the way HH Sheikh Mohammad runs his affairs.
If we have such leaders in all the important and powerful nations of the world, then there is no need for elections, relections (which normally are a waste of time).
People who visit and who live in Dubai are happy almost to a person. Gauging people's level of satisfaction and happiness is starting to become an important issue in the world and reflects to how well a country is run.
I would rate easily UAE to have a reading of 8 or more out of 10.
Show me another country, besides say Sweden or Denmark, who can achieve such a high grade.
Show me any other country in the world, where over 200 different nationalities, ethnic groups and religions coexist so smoothly and peacefully together.
The award of Expo2020 to Dubai came to me as no surprise whatsoever. The world will witness soon how well deserved this award was.
Ferdinand Lama

Posted by: P. MADHUSUDAN

One of the greatest visionaries the Arab world has had and will ever have HE Sheikh Mohammed who has converted this dessert into one of the most modern and affluent city's in the whole world. Unfortunately there are some who are not on the same wavelength as he is and consequently such aberrations happen. It would be in the fitness of things if Shezanne Cassim is appropriately compensated for the suffering he went through in jail.

Posted by: Canadian guy

Without a doubt, one of history's greatest visionary leaders. From every angle. Dubai is very fortunate to have such a fantastic man at the helm. The decision to jail him wasn't right but the past is the past and to speak on this, in such a modest and accountable manner, is a step in the right direction. Sheikh Mo is one of the reasons why I've loved my 6 years in this excellent city. I'm always fascinated to see what will happen next even if there are times of frustration, Dubai is really heading into the books. I'd love to see a full, well done, documentary on the growth of this city.

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