December 19, 2013 | By Jillian York

EFF Calls on the UAE to #FreeShez

Shezanne “Shez” Cassim, the American citizen currently detained in the UAE for uploading a satirical video to YouTube, remains in a maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi, the judgment in his case postponed for the sixth time.

As we previously wrote, Cassim faces charges under Article 28 of the UAE’s arcane cybercrimes law, instituted in November 2012, one month after he posted the video.  The law has been widely condemned by human rights organizations.

Cassim has been detained since April.  On September 30, he was told that he would be handed a judgment on October 28, but that judgment has been postponed five times since then as the judge waited for authorities to translate the video into Arabic, a request that came in November, seven months into Cassim’s detention. Cassim has now served 260 days without a conviction, for the “crime” of uploading a satirical video.

Famous comics including Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have come out in support of Cassim, making a video to show support.  Supporters can donate to Cassim's legal fund; #FreeShez t-shirts are also being sold to support the fund.

We condemn the charges against Cassim and call on the UAE to immediately release him.  We also call on the US government—which considers the UAE an important ally, despite its repressive laws and human rights violations—to advocate on Cassim’s behalf.


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