Back in Minneapolis, Shezanne Cassim told a crowd of cameras at MSP Airport he has no plans to return to the United Arab Emirates, where he was held for nearly 9 months over a parody video posted to YouTube.
Cassim, 29, of Woodbury, Minn., was sentenced to one year in prison and a $2,700 fine for the video, "Ultimate Combat System: The Deadly Satwa Gs," which satirically portrays young men in Dubai's upscale suburb of Satwa. The video begins with a disclaimer clearly stating no offense was intended.
"I was tried in a textbook kangaroo court, and I was convicted without any evidence," Cassim said.
When Cassim was first questioned about the video, he offered to take it down. At the time, it only had 200 views, but prosecutors declined the offer.
"There's a misconception that I broke the law," Cassim said. "There was nothing illegal about the video."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar was first contacted by the Cassim family in April and she and Sen. Al Franken worked with the U.S. State Department and UAE ambassador to expedite his release. Klobuchar requested to have Shez Cassim's time served included in his sentence, which was a major factor in the decision to release him.
"I spoke to Shez right after he landed in Minnesota and am thrilled he is finally back in Minnesota with his family and friends," Klobuchar said in a statement. "They never gave up the fight or lost hope, and now their family is complete with Shez safe at home where he belongs."