A 29-year-old University of Minnesota graduate has been locked up in a Dubai prison since April for making a parody YouTube video about teaching residents of a Satwa, wealthy neighborhood, how to fight. In the video, they learn to throw shoes and call for help over Twitter.
Shezanne Cassim, an American citizen who was born in Sri Lanka, moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2006, to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers. He uploaded the video in October, 2008. Cassim's parents say that the law that he is being charged under wasn't enacted until months after Cassim uploaded the video.
The law allows the state to prosecute the creators of parodies that are "liable to endanger state security and its higher interests or infringe on public order".
“It’s like somebody in the United States making a parody video of a Brooklyn hipster, and being held in jail for it and being held in jail for months without bail,” his brother, Shervon Cassim, told KARE. “That’s what’s going on here.”
It's not clear when or even if Cassim will get out. His father moved to Dubai after his arrest, but Cassim has been refused bail each time he requests it. His next court hearing is supposed to be scheduled for December 16.