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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Disturbing Disparity Between Emiratis and Foreign Businessmen Charged with Crimes in Dubai Continues, Says U.S. Legal Counsel to Zack Shahin

 U.S. Legal Counsel for Zack Shahin

While Zack Shahin finishes his fifth week of a hunger strike, two cases, one yet to be finalized and the other yet to be decided, should again cause the American government concern over Shahin's fate. In anticipation of the sentences to be passed down on Sunday against two Australian citizens convicted of fraud on false testimony of a prosecution witness, another case of apparent favoritism has come to light involving fraud on a grand scale, but committed by an Emirati citizen.

In 2011, Abed Al Boom, an Emirati businessman, was convicted of defrauding 3,700 depositors of more than Dh 930 Million. He was sentenced to 923 years on 3,695 counts of breach of trust and issuing bad cheques (checks). Boom, who in 2002 owned only one car that was worth less than Dh 30,000, grew his business through various fraudulent manipulations, which resulted in the charges against him. He was released on bail after he was convicted of his swindle, and then granted a reprieve from serving any jail time after he promised to repay those he defrauded.

A roster of the defendants who along with Shahin have been accused of wrongdoing, include only one Emirati citizen. The Emirati has been characterized as a "victim" in the latest case filed against Shahin. And that person, Dr. Kharbash, has never been arrested nor imprisoned pending charges. He has enjoyed the freedoms of travel, both within the U.A.E. and abroad.

Attorneys for Shahin reiterate their longstanding position: "We, in good faith, attempt to point out these events, not to curry favor with the State Department, but to remind Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the issue of 'fair play' is not exclusive to the United States system of justice, but should be promoted among allies wherever they are. The fact that the U.A.E. is a strategic ally in the Middle East should not lessen the obligation Secretary Clinton has to direct members of all embassies to project this concept, even in locations where other events may be involved."

Shahin, now in his fifth week of a hunger strike, is showing signs of the lack of nourishment and needs the attention of independent medical care. Another foreign prisoner on a hunger strike was treated in the prison infirmary and returned to his cell! Already with a heart condition, Shahin's condition will, in all probability, worsen, unless he is properly treated or released to find medical treatment in a Western hospital.

U.S. legal counsel to Zack Shahin continued: "When will Secretary Clinton acknowledge this matter is of vital importance to maintaining the relations between the U.S. and the U.A.E.? Will Zack's collapse on a prison floor get her attention?"

Earlier in the week, Justin Siberill, Consular General in Dubai, phoned Shahin's wife and advised her that the U.S. was "raising all flags" in protecting Shahin while in prison. He advised that discussions were being conducted at "the highest levels." Soha Shahin replied: "you have told me this for four years, and my husband remains in prison. Now you tell me this while my husband is on a hunger strike and I am to believe you? I want my husband home. My children want their father home."

Meanwhile, Shahin is determined to finish his protest, one way or another.

Zack Shahin has been on a hunger strike since May 14 to protest American officials' failure to speak out publicly on his behalf and call on U.A.E. to grant his immediate and reasonable bail. For more information, please visit www.FreeZack.com.

U.S. legal counsel to Zack Shahin are: Jim Jatras, Rebekah Poston, and Eric Akers.
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