American Jailed In Dubai Over Parody Video Gets Support From Funny Or Die
Comedians are banding together to back an American citizen locked up in United Arab Emirates for posting a sketch comedy video online.Shezanne "Shez" Cassim, 29, who was working in Dubai, has been imprisoned since April for creating an innocuous 19-minute video that mocked teens in Dubai who love hip-hop culture, according to CNN. He is charged with violating a cybercrime law for endangering public order. However, he has been held without bail nor legal representation over the past eight months and the UAE government refuses to speak to the U.S. government or CNN about the case. Cassim will appear in court on Dec. 16 for a hearing.
Comedians, family, and supporters took to the internet yesterday to build support for Cassim under the #FreeShez hashtag. It coincided with Dec. 10 being International Human Rights Day. A petition has surfaced to release Cassim from prison.
Will Ferrell, Bob Odenkirk, and Patton Oswalt were among the comedians that were in a Funny or Die video that served to bring awareness to Cassim's horrible situation. The video was a mix of humor and pleading for Cassim's release.
"Shez is in prison right now for making a funny video, but yet I was in Boat Trip and I am walking free everyday," said Thomas Lennon, who's known for his work as Lt. Dangle on Reno 911. "That's insane."
In a heartbreaking blog post, Cassim's mother wrote, "My Christmas wish is that this nightmare will soon be over and Shez will be back with us safe at home where he belongs."