United Arab Emirates Sentences Amateur Comedian to a Year in Jail for...Satire Video?

The interview with the brother of "Shez" Cassim was recorded a few days before he was sentenced to a year in prison.

In the interview, Shevron Cassim says his family wants to know what exactly in the comedy video was a threat to the security of the United Arab Emirates. Despite international protest over his detainment, University of Minnesota graduate Shezanne "Shez" Cassim was sentenced Monday to spending one year in a United Arab Emirates prison plus approximately $3,000 in fines after posting an amateur comedy video on YouTube in October 2012.

Found guilty of violating a UAE federal "Cyber Crimes Law," Cassim has already been detained in the UAE for eight months, with the majority of his time spent in small cell in a maximum-security prison located in the deserts of Abu Dhabi. Cassim, a 29-year-old University of Minnesota graduate and former Woodbury, Minnesota, resident, moved to the UAE after graduating to pursue a career in the airline business.

Known for his quick wit and interest in international politics and culture, Cassim was arrested in early April 2013 and told he had threatened UAE national security by posting a seemingly innocuous video skit on YouTube. Titled "Satwa Combat School" the video in dispute poked fun at the tough, gangster-like mannerisms of youth living in the Satwa district of Dubai. This viral film was one of several Cassim and his friends created while living in Dubai and was prefaced with the statement, "The following events are fictional and no offence was intended to the people of Satwa or UAE."

Cassim's family recently went public his plight after failing to make progress on his case in the UAE. Since then, several local political figures have become involved in calling for his release including Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn), and Al Franken (D-Minn), and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

"A young man should not be put in jail for posting an online video," Klobuchar said in a statement about Cassim. "We will not stop our work until we get justice for Shezanne."

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