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Woodbury Native Cassim Says UAE 'Is Scared of Democracy'

Woodbury native was jailed for making a mockumentary about youth culture in Dubai. He returned home on Thursday, Jan. 9.

Shezanne “Shez” Cassim, right, has been held in a prison in Abu Dhabi since June. Credit: YouTube/Shezanne “Shez” Cassim
Shezanne “Shez” Cassim, right, has been held in a prison in Abu Dhabi since June. Credit: YouTube/Shezanne “Shez” Cassim

After being jailed for almost a year in the United Arab Emirates, Shezanne “Shez” Cassim returned home to friends and family on Thursday, Jan. 9. 

Cassim, 29, originally of Woodbury, was incarcerated for nine months after uploading a satire video of culture in Dubai to YouTube. In his defense Cassim said he did not do anything wrong, and there was nothing illegal about the video.

He uploaded a video called "Ultimate Combat System: The Deadly Satwa Gs" on Oct. 10, 2012 (see above). The video starts with a disclaimer: "The video is fictional and no offence [sic] was intended to the United Arab Emirates or to the people of Satwa.”

He was imprisoned for violating the UAE’s cyber crimes law, his family spokeswoman Jennifer Gore told the Star Tribune. UAE officials said the film posed a direct threat to national security. 

Cassim said he was “tried in a textbook kangaroo court,” and convicted “without evidence," according to the Star Tribune. He spoke to several reporters after he landed in Minneapolis.

His incarceration is proof the UAE is “scared of democracy," the Star Tribune reported.

He moved to Dubai in 2006 to work as a business consultant following graduation from the University of Minnesota. UAE officials released Cassim from custody this week and deported him.

jerrybacklundmn January 10, 2014 at 07:25 AM
If you post a disclaimer that says " no offense" aren't you admitting that you are going to offend someone?
Paul Whackernutz January 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Take a geography course.
yomammy January 13, 2014 at 07:49 AM
if you are a person that you actually have to say "no offense" to, you probably take offense to every little thing...
Simon D January 14, 2014 at 05:51 PM
"No offense, but..." "I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but..." "I don't want to alarm anyone, but..." I don't want to complain, but..." I don't want to sound ungrateful, but..." I don't mean to bother you, but..." Anytime someone begins a statement like this, everything said before the word "but" is a lie.

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