WASHINGTON, January 9, 2014 (AFP) – An American jailed for nine months in the United Arab Emirates for making a spoof YouTube video mocking Dubai teenagers returned home 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 ($2,725) and a year in jail charged under a controversial new cybercrimes law.
The 19-minute “Satwa Comedy School” video 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 behavior.
In the mock documentary, Cassim and his friends learn the la