UAE jails American over video mocking Dubai teens

ABU DHABI (AFP) - A court in the United Arab Emirates jailed on Monday an American and four other men for one year after they made a YouTube video that mocked Dubai teenagers, The National daily reported.

Shezanne Cassim, a 29-year-old from Minnesota, has been held since April after being charged with endangering the security of the UAE under a cybercrimes law.

He was also fined 10,000 dirhams (S$3,447 ).

Two Indian defendants were handed a similar punishment, while two Emirati brothers, already behind bars, were jailed for eight months and each fined 5,000 dirhams, The National reported.

A Canadian woman, a British woman and an American man who were never detained were also sentenced to one year in jail, in addition to being fined, the newspaper added.

Their link to the spoof video was unclear.

The 19-minute video, called the "Satwa Comedy School," gently parodies Dubai teenagers from the city's Satwa district who styled themselves as tough "gangstas" wearing hip-hop clothes and listening to rap music, but who in reality were known for very mild behaviour.

In the mock documentary, Cassim and his friends learn the latest techniques of "Satwa G's combat" which include the correct way to throw a shoe at a newspaper, and how in extreme cases to use a mobile phone to call for back-up.

Cassim has lived in the United Arab Emirates since 2006. He worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

He is now being held in a maximum security prison outside Abu Dhabi.

The US State Department, which has already voiced concerns about the cybercrimes law under which Cassim was charged, has been actively raising his case with the Emirati authorities.