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Dubai ruler says treatment of jailed American was unsatisfactory

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum

Shezanne Cassim was detained in April and sentenced to a year in prison.

January 13, 2014 2:21 by

The prime minister of the UAE said on Monday that the treatment of a US citizen who spent nine months in jail for posting a parody video on YouTube was unsatisfactory, and suggested it was a mistake the UAE would learn from.

Shezanne Cassim was detained in April and sentenced to a year in prison in the Gulf Arab state in December on cybercrime charges for his video, a 20-minute “mockumentary” that pokes fun at young Emirati men who imitate US hip-hop culture.

Asked by the British broadcaster BBC whether Cassim’s case had been handled in a satisfactory way, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “No … We are not perfect and we try to change it. Any mistakes, we go in and try to change it. We’re not perfect, but we are doing our best.”

Cassim, who was also fined AED10,000 UAE, was released last week and returned home to the United States, saying he had done nothing wrong.

He said he had been held with limited information in a prison with few facilities, and not told what crime he was accused of until about five months after he was apprehended.

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