An American man detained for months in the United Arab Emirates and seven co-defendants were fined and sentenced to up to a year in prison Monday after being convicted in connection to a satirical video about youth culture in Dubai.
The video they produced and uploaded to the Internet was a spoof documentary of would-be "gangsta" youth in the Gulf Arab city-state. The state-owned daily The National said they were accused of "defaming the image of United Arab Emirates society abroad." Supporters of the defendants reported that they were charged under a 2012 cybercrimes law that tightened penalties for challenging authorities.
Shezanne Cassim, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen from Woodbury, Minn., became the public face of the defendants after his family launched an effort to publicize his months-long incarceration following his arrest in April.