Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story about Shezanne Cassim, a young man from Minnesota who has lived and worked in Dubai for the past seven years. He works for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Cassim is currently in a maximum security prison in Dubia. His crime–making a YouTube video that mocked Dubai teenagers. Admittedly, it is bad manners to mock your host country, but putting people in maximum security prison for satire seems a little extreme. Mr. Cassim and four other men will be serving a one-year prison term for their offense. The video is posted at Hot Air. Follow the link above to view it.
The article reports:
It’s easy to joke about this, but it’s no joke to Cassim and his family. It’s outrageous of Dubai to have locked up Cassim for even a day, let alone for eight months — and adding another year in maximum security is absurd. Dubai and UAE want to position themselves as a modern, cosmopolitan oasis in the Middle East, but this suggests that they’re just another oppressive totalitarian state with enough money to buy good PR. The US should have demanded his release months ago, and his continued incarceration should be a high-profile story for anyone who cares about even rudimentary freedoms, such as the freedom to laugh.
The Cassim family spoke to CNN this morning in an attempt to raise Shezanne’s profile here in the US:
This story should be shouted from the rooftops in America. Why isn’t this story on the front page of all of our major newspapers? Where is our government? Do we have any international clout at all these days?