MN man imprisoned in United Arab Emirates headed home

ABU DAHBI - Shezanne Cassim, an American who was imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates after posting a video that parodied Dubai teens, has left the Gulf nation and is flying home to the United States, his family said.

Casim left Dubai with his father early Thursday, and family spokesman Jennifer Gore said Cassim will arrive back in Minneapolis Thursday afternoon.

Shezanne's brother, Shervon Cassim, told CNN "my family and I are relieved and overjoyed that there is finally an end to this."

According to his family, Shezanne Cassim, of Woodbury, Minnesota, ended up serving nine months in prison -- more than half of those before being charged -- before his recent move to a deportation facility.

He had moved to Dubai in 2006 after graduating from college to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

His family says the 29-year-old was arrested in April after uploading a 19-minute video that pokes fun at a clique of Dubai teens influenced by hip-hop culture.

In December, he was sentenced to a year in prison and a fine of about $2,700. The charges were not read in court, but the country's main English-language newspaper reported that Cassim was accused of defaming the UAE's image abroad.

UAE officials would say only that Cassim "was charged under the UAE's penal code" and was "entitled to the fair trial protections contained in the UAE's constitution."

In the 1990s, the label "Satwa G" was coined for a group of suburban teens who were known to talk tougher than they really were.

Cassim's video depicts a "combat school" in the Dubai district of Satwa, where these "gangsters" are trained. The training includes how to throw sandals at targets, use clothing accessories as whips and how to call on the phone for backup.

Shervon Cassim previously told CNN his brother made the video "just for fun."


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