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American man detained since April in Dubai for YouTube parody video

The YouTube parody profiles a "combat school" where Dubai teens who self identify as "gangsters" are trained in throwing sandals, making whips out of clothing accessories, and using cell phones to "call for back-up" as they "patrol" the mean streets of Dubai.
Posted By JC Finley   |   Dec. 2, 2013 at 11:27 AM   |   Comments

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Dec. 2 (UPI)-- University of Minnesota graduate Shezanne "Shez" Cassim, age 29, has been jailed in the United Arab Emirates since April for posting a YouTube video parody of Emirati youth.

Cassim's brother Shervon told CNN affiliate KARE that the situation is "like someone in the U.S. making a parody video of a Brooklyn hipster and getting thrown in jail for it and being held in jail for months without bail." In the YouTube parody, Cassim profiled a "combat school" where Dubai teens who self identify as "gangsters" are trained in throwing sandals, making whips out of clothing accessories, and using a cell phone to "call for back-up" as they "patrol" the mean streets of Dubai.

The YouTube video is titled "Ultimate Combat System: The Deadly Satwa Gs" and runs 19 minutes and 44 seconds. Watch it below:

According to the London-based Emirates Centre for Human Rights, charges against Cassim include violating cybercrimes law Article 28 which punishes individuals whose postings are "liable to endanger state security and its higher interests or infringe on public order."

The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the U.S. Consulate in Dubai are monitoring the situation, visiting Cassim at Al-Wathba prison, and have attended all his court hearings. His next court date is scheduled for mid-December.

Cassim had been living in the UAE since graduating from college in 2006, and was employed as a business consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers at the time of his arrest.

[CNN]
[BBC]
[Star Tribune]

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Topics: Abu Dhabi
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