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Posts tagged ‘ABU DHABI’

UAE Sentences American to 1 Year in Jail for Youth Parody Video.


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An American man detained for months in the United Arab Emirates and seven co-defendants were fined and sentenced to jail Monday after being convicted in connection to a satirical video about youth culture in Dubai.

The case, which has drawn the attention of international human rights advocates, centers around a mockumentary uploaded to the Internet.

Officials charged that the film spoofing would-be Dubai “gangstas” ran afoul of a 2012 cybercrimes law that tightened penalties for challenging authorities, according to supporters of one of the filmmakers, Shezanne Cassim.

Cassim, 29, is a U.S. citizen from Woodbury, Minn., who was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Dubai for work after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2006. He became the public face of the defendants after his family launched an effort to publicize his months-long incarceration following his arrest in April.

He was sentenced Monday to a year in prison followed by deportation and a 10,000 dirham ($2,725) fine, according to family spokeswoman Jennifer Gore.

American consular officials have been following the case closely and attended Monday’s hearing at the State Security Court in the federal capital, Abu Dhabi.

The U.S. Embassy had no official comment following the verdict. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf last week said American officials were troubled by Cassim’s “prolonged incarceration” and called for “a fair and expedient trial and judgment.”

Two Indian defendants received similar sentences, while two Emirati brothers were sentenced to eight months behind bars and received 5,000 dirham fines, according to state-owned newspaper The National. A third brother was pardoned.

The paper said the defendants had been accused of “defaming the UAE society’s image abroad.”

Three other defendants, a Canadian, Briton, and an American, were convicted and sentenced in absentia to the penalties given to their other foreigners. They have never been detained by authorities and so are unlikely to serve their sentences.

The paper identified the defendants only by their initials, which is common in the Emirati media.

Gulf Arab authorities have been cracking down on social media use over the past two years, with dozens of people arrested across the region for Twitter posts deemed offensive to leaders or for social media campaigns urging more political openness.

The video, called “Ultimate Combat System: The Deadly Satwa Gs,” is set in the Satwa district of Dubai. It is a documentary style clip that pokes fun at Dubai youth who style themselves “gangstas” but are not particularly thuggish, and shows fictional “combat” training that includes throwing a sandal and using a mobile phone to call for help.

It opens with text saying the video is fictional and is not meant to offend.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

American Man Jailed in Abu Dhabi for Making Funny YouTube.


A Minnesota man is in prison in Abu Dhabi for making a video mocking young people who live in Dubai, and his family is working to try to get him out.

Shezanne Cassim, 29, and four others who appear in the video he uploaded to YouTube in October 2012, were put in prison in April for violating cybercrimes law and for posing a national security threat, the United Arab Emirates say, CBS Minnesota reported.

Cassim has been living and working in Dubai for seven years as a business consultant.

He and his friends made a spoof showing young men in Dubai going to a fake camp where they learn how to strike people with belts and throw shoes.

The video was a parody of “a certain cultural stereotype about the youth in Dubai,” Cassim’s brother explained. “It’s just teenagers living in a suburb called Satwa who try to act like they are tough guys, even though they are suburban teenagers. And it’s like making fun of hipsters in Brooklyn.”

Cassim’s family members have all visited him at the maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi where he was transferred to in June, and they say no date has been given as to when he will get out. He has been denied bail three times by a judge and no ruling or a sentencing date has been issued.

“Part of the frustration is that he is essentially in there indefinitely, with no end in sight,” said Shervon Cassim, brother of the detained man. “He doesn’t understand what they think he’s done wrong.”

Some of Minnesota’s congressional delegates have tried to help, but have yet to make any headway.

Video from CBS Minnesota:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Courtney Coren

$2m Fraud: Nigeria Police Tracks Down International Fraud Suspect In Dubai.


IG Abubakar
By SaharaReporters, New York

The Nigeria Police has announced the arrest of 35-year old Itumo Anthony Chidebere, who allegedly fled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after defrauding a Nigerian businesswoman of two million dollars.  Nigeria is working to have him extradited.

A statement by police spokesman Frank Mba said the feat was accomplished by the INTERPOL Unit of the force, headed by DCP Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, in conjunction with its counterpart in Abu-Dhabi.

Chidebere, who hails from Ebonyi State, had been on the run for the past 13 months after executing the act, in which he executed his fraudulent deal after he presented himself to the woman in June 2012 as an estate broker in Dubai, claiming he could purchase a house for her.

“Relying on this assurance, the unsuspecting complainant made a payment of $2,082,139 US Dollars to the suspect, on the receipt of which the suspect disappeared without purchasing the said house, but rather chose to be running from one country to another in a bid to evade arrest,” the statement said.

The Inspector-General of Police, MD Abubakar, reaffirmed the determination of the Force to bring to justice all criminals connected with international crimes, promising to strengthen the bond between the Nigeria Police and their counterparts in other countries in resolving all trans-border crimes.

US Extends Closure of Some Embassies Through Aug. 10.


The United States extended the closures of some embassies and consulates in the Middle East – which had been closed Sunday due to an al Qaeda threat – through Aug. 10 due to caution but not the emergence of any new threat, the State Department said.

Other U.S. diplomatic posts, including in Kabul, Baghdad and Algiers, that had been closed on Sunday, will reopen on Monday, the State Department said.

Posts in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali, and Port Louis will be closed through Saturday.

U.S. diplomatic posts in Dhaka, Algiers, Nouakchott, Kabul, Herat, Mazar el Sharif, Baghdad, Basrah, and Erbil will open on Monday, the State Department said.

 

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Rep. Peter King: Obama ‘Has to Respond’ to Syrian Chemical Use.


By David Yonkman, Washington Correspondent

 
 

Syria’s reported use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” set by the Obama administration that demands a response, Rep. Peter King tells Newsmax.

“We have to respond because [Obama] has said it was a red line,” said the New York Republican who serves on the House Homeland Security and Intelligence committees. “If we don’t take action, a red line is meaningless.”

King’s comments followed reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had confirmed that U.S. intelligence agencies have now concluded that the Syrian government has used sarin gas as a weapon in its two-year-old civil war against rebels.

Hagel, speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi, said the White House has informed two senators by letter that, within the past day, “our intelligence community does assess, with varying degrees of confidence, that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent sarin.”

President Barack Obama has said the use of chemical weapons would be a “game-changer” in the U.S. position on intervening in the Syrian conflict, which has killed thousands and has created a huge refugee crisis in the region.

The letter to senators reportedly reiterates that the use or transfer of chemical weapons in Syria is a “red line for the United States.” However, it also hints that a broad U.S. response is not imminent.

Republican Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the use of chemical weapons “unacceptable” and said all options, including sanctions, must remain on the table.

“Ambiguity is dangerous,” Messer told Newsmax. “When you say you’re going to do something, you should be prepared to do it. Obviously no one’s looking to get mired in another war, but this is a very big deal.”

The letter sent to the senators was reportedly signed by White House legislative director Miguel Rodriguez.

“Because the president takes this issue so seriously, we have an obligation to fully investigate any and all evidence of chemical weapons use within Syria,” the letter said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Hagel Says Syria Has Used Chemical Weapons.


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates  — U.S. intelligence has concluded “with some degree of varying confidence,” that the Syrian government has used sarin gas as a weapon in its 2-year-old civil war, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.

Hagel, speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi, said the White House has informed two senators by letter that, within the past day, “our intelligence community does assess, with varying degrees of confidence, that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent sarin.”

“It violates every convention of warfare,” Hagel said.

No information was made public on what quantity of chemical weapons might have been used, or when or what casualties might have resulted.

President Barack Obama has said the use of chemical weapons would be a “game-changer” in the U.S. position on intervening in the Syrian civil war, and the letter to Congress reiterates that the use or transfer of chemical weapons in Syria is a “red line for the United States.” However, the letter also hints that a broad U.S. response is not imminent.

White House legislative director Miguel Rodriguez, who signed the letter, wrote that “because the president takes this issue so seriously, we have an obligation to fully investigate any and all evidence of chemical weapons use within Syria.”

The letters went to Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Carl Levin, D-Mich.

The assessment, Rodriguez says, is based in part on “physiological samples.”

He also said the U.S. believes that the use of chemical weapons “originated with the Assad regime.” That is consistent with the Obama administration’s assertion that the Syrian rebels do not have access to the country’s stockpiles.

In Washington, McCain quoted from the letter the White House sent to several senators who had pressed the administration about Syria’s possible use of chemical weapons.

“We just received a letter from the president in response to our question about whether Assad had used chemical weapons,” McCain told reporters following a closed briefing with Secretary of State John Kerry on Syria and North Korea.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Kerry defends liberties, says Americans have “right to be stupid”.


BERLIN (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry offered a defense of freedom of speech, religion and thought in the United States on Tuesday telling German students that in America “you have a right to be stupid if you want to be.”

“As a country, as a society, we live and breathe the idea of religious freedom and religious tolerance, whatever the religion, and political freedom and political tolerance, whatever the point of view,” Kerry told the students in Berlin, the second stop on his inaugural trip as secretary of state.

“People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another,” he added.

“The reason is, that’s freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid – if you want to be,” he said, prompting laughter. “And you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be.

“And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that’s a virtue. I think that’s something worth fighting for,” he added. “The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view.”

Kerry made the comments on his first foreign trip since becoming secretary of state on February 1. After one-night stops in London and Berlin, he visits Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha before returning to Washington on March 6.

While speaking to the students and earlier to U.S. diplomats, Kerry reminisced about the time he spent in Berlin in the 1950s as the intrepid son of an American diplomat and retold a story of sneaking across to East Berlin with his bike.

“I used to have great adventures. My bicycle and I were best friends. And I biked all around this city. I remember biking down Kurfuerstendamm and seeing nothing but rubble. This was in 1954 … the war was very much still on people’s minds,” he told the diplomats, referring to West Berlin’s main shopping avenue.

“One day, using my diplomatic passport, I biked through the checkpoint right into the east sector and noticed very quickly how dark and unpopulated (it was) and sort of unhappy people looked,” he added, saying it left an impression “that hit this 12-year-old kid.”

“I kind of felt a foreboding about it and I didn’t spend much time. I kind of skedaddled and got back out of there and went home and proudly announced to my parents what I had done and was promptly grounded and had my passport pulled,” he added.

“As a 12-year-old, I saw the difference between East and West,” he later told the students. “I never made another trip like that. But I have never forgotten it. And now, it’s vanished, vanished.”

(This story is refiled to correct typo in paragraph 4)

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Jon Hemming)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Reuters

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