UAE frees American jailed for YouTube parody video

By REUTERS
January 9, 2014 16:44

 
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DUBAI - An American citizen was released from jail in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday after serving nine months for posting a parody video on YouTube, his family said.

Shezanne Cassim, 29, was sentenced to a year in prison last month over a 20-minute "mockumentary" video which poked fun at young Emirati men who imitate US hip hop culture.

However, because he had been in detention since last April, Cassim has now been released "according to a customary practice that equates nine months of imprisonment to a one-year sentence", the family said in an emailed statement.

There was no immediate reaction from UAE authorities.

In the video posted on YouTube in 2012, Emirati men jokingly described as "deadly gangsters" can be seen practicing throwing sandals and wielding an agal - the cord used to keep in place traditional Arab headscarves.

The video opened with a disclaimer stating it is fictional and does not intend to offend the people of the UAE.

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