U.S. citizen charged in UAE after posting satirical video

Nov. 28, 2013 at 12:46 PM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- A U.S. citizen living in the United Arab Emirates has been imprisoned for posting a mocking YouTube video, a human rights group says.

The Emirates Center for Human Rights, a group headquartered in London, said Wednesday that Shezanne Cassim, 29, was arrested in April in Dubai, Al Jazeera America reported. The group said Cassim, an expatriate from Woodbury, Minn., was born in Sri Lanka.

The center said the video, posted in 2012, makes fun of young people's activities in the UAE.

"The video is a mock documentary in which Cassim profiles a fictional 'Satwa Combat School' in which students are taught to throw sandals as weapons and use social media for backup when under attack," the center said in a news release. "The video begins with the caveat 'no offense was intended to the United Arab Emirates.'"

The center said Cassim put the video on YouTube in October 2012. He was charged under a law passed a month later with using the Internet for items "liable to endanger state security and its higher interests or infringe on public order."

Cassim is being held in a prison in Abu Dhabi with other expatriates involved in making the video, the center said. Their names have not been released.

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