ABU DHABI - The United States on Friday urged the United Arab Emirates to release on bail an American businessman accused of embezzlement who has been on hunger strike for six weeks, and to deal with his case in a "transparent manner".

Zack Shahin has been in detention since he was arrested in 2008 while at the helm of the Dubai real estate firm Deyaar . There have been hearings in his case in Dubai, but no judgment.

"After more than six weeks, obviously there are serious concerns about Mr Shahin's health," the US charge d'affaires in the UAE, L. Victor Hurtado, said in a statement.

"We continue to urge the authorities to release him on bail, as has been approved but not carried out in the past. In addition, we urge that the several outstanding pending cases against Mr Shahin can be consolidated, allowing him to defend himself more effectively."

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