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UAE made me 'a scapegoat': US man jailed for YouTube gag

Published on Jan 10, 2014 7:56 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - An American jailed for nine months in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for making a spoof YouTube video mocking Dubai teenagers returned home on Thursday, comparing the experience to being in a "cage". Being back on American soil "feels great", Shezanne Cassim, 29, told an impromptu press conference just a few minutes after arriving at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport following his deportation from Dubai.

"There's a misconception that I broke a law. But I want to say that I did nothing wrong. There was nothing illegal about the video even under UAE law," Cassim stressed.

"I was tried in a textbook kangaroo court, and I was convicted without any evidence. So to me this verdict is meaningless."

After being arrested in April, Cassim was eventually sentenced in December to a fine of 10,000 dirhams (S$3,461) and a year in jail charged under a controversial new cybercrime law.

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