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UAE frees American hunger striker on bail

UAE-says-sanctions-hurting-trade-with-Iran

The United Arab Emirates has freed on bail an American businessman accused of embezzlement who has been in jail in the Gulf Arab state since 2008 and went on hunger strike in May, the U.S. embassy said on Friday.

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July 13, 2012 8:29 by



The United Arab Emirates has freed on bail an American businessman accused of embezzlement who has been in jail in the Gulf Arab state since 2008 and went on hunger strike in May, the U.S. embassy said on Friday.

Washington had repeatedly called for Zack Shahin’s case to be resolved. He had been detained since he was arrested in 2008 while at the helm of Dubai real estate firm Deyaar. There have been hearings in his case in Dubai, but no judgment.

Earlier this month, the UAE offered Shahin 5 million dirham ($1.36 million) bail.

“I can confirm that (Shahin) was released on Thursday and that consular officials met him upon his release,” a spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Abu Dhabi said.

“We look forward to him being able to pursue his criminal case through the UAE judicial system.”

Shahin is due to have two court hearings later this month when a verdict could be handed down in his case, his lawyer told Reuters just over a week ago.

In May, four other expatriates jailed in Dubai said they had gone on hunger strike to protest against the lengthy prison sentences handed down to them for bouncing cheques – a criminal offence in the UAE.

The men, most of them real estate developers and businessmen who worked in Dubai during its economic boom, fell into debt when the emirate’s property bubble burst after the 2008 global credit crisis.

(Reporting by Raissa Kasolowsky; editing by Andrew Roche)



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