Minnesotans call for release of Shezanne Cassim from UAE jail - KMSP-TV

Jailing of Minnesota man in Abu Dhabi 'doesn't make sense'

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

The University of Minnesota's Human Rights Program is calling for the immediate release of a Woodbury, Minn. man who has been jailed for 8 months in Abu Dhabi "after posting a harmless video to YouTube."

Program directors David Weissbrodt and Kristi Rudelius-Palmer are troubled by Shezanne Cassim's unwarranted detention and limited access to an attorney.

Cassim's family says he was living and working in Dubai when he uploaded a satirical video onto YouTube. He was arrested in April, accused of endangering the national security of the United Arab Emirates by violating its federal cybercrimes law.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar met with U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Michael Corbin to urge action on the case. Corbin pledged to make the case his highest priority and is sending staff to visit Cassim to help ensure his safety.

"The United Arab Emirates holds itself up as a place for Americans to come and work or get an education, and a number of our universities even have campuses in the country," Klobuchar said in a statement. "It simply doesn't make sense that this young man is in jail for posting a YouTube video."

Cassim has been in a maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi since June. The 29-year-old Woodbury High School and University of Minnesota graduate will appear in court Dec. 16.

Petition to free Shezanne Cassim: Respect Free Expression, Release Dubai Filmmakers

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