By Andy Sambidge
US businessman Zack Shahin has been in detention for four years on corruption claims
The former CEO of real estate developer Deyaar, has started a hunger strike after more than four years in a Dubai jail, it has been reported.
US businessman Zack Shahin was detained in 2008 under suspicion of corruption, as part of a clampdown by authorities on financial wrongdoing.
He told Associated Press in a telephone interview from prison that he had started a hunger strike to push for a trial and seek greater US diplomatic pressure in his case.
Shahin claims he has been left in legal limbo that shows no signs of ending.
“I had to do something,” he said in comments published by AP. “This is my cry for help. I’m asking the UAE government to give me my day in court and calling on my own government to be a better advocate for my interests.”
Shahin was arrested over alleged embezzlement by executives at Deyaar. He was later the target of other investigations into alleged fiscal wrongdoing at the company, but no trial dates have been set.
Shahin denies any improprieties. Shahin’s Washington-based legal team says American officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, have raised Shahin’s case with UAE authorities.
Robert Arbuckle, the spokesman for the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi, told AP that American officials are aware of Shahin’s hunger strike and “express concern about his condition.”
The US has “raised concern at all levels,” Arbuckle was quoted as saying.
UAE officials have not commented on the hunger strike, AP added.