An American citizen is being held in a maximum-security prison in the United Arab Emirates after posting a satirical YouTube video. He is the first foreign national to be charged with the country's draconian cybercrimes decree.
Shezanne Cassim posted a mock documentary spoofing youth culture in Dubai. For this he has been charged, among other things, with violating Article 28 of the cybercrimes law. This bans using information technology to publish caricatures that are
'liable to endanger state security and its higher interests or infringe on public order'
Rori Donaghy, Director of the Emirates Centre for Human rights said in a statement that the case has:
Worrying implications for all expatriates living and working in the UAE.
Cassim has been thrown in prison for posting a silly video on YouTube and authorities must immediately release him as he has clearly not endangered state security in any way.
Update: 1 year sentence
25th December 2013. See article
An American consultant living in the United Arab Emirates has begun a one-year sentence in a maximum security prison after a spoof video was ludicrously ruled a threat to national security.
Shezanne Cassim from Minnesota, is behind bars in an Emirates federal prison in the desert outside Abu Dhabi, while family members, lawyers and politicians in the US work diplomatic and legal channels in their attempts to free him.
He was sentenced for allegedly threatening UAE security and endangering public order with an online satirical video mocking affluent Emirates youth who mimic gangster street behaviour while actually enjoying pampered lifestyles.