Dubai, United Arab Emirates May 14 -- After having recently spent day 1,500 incarcerated in a Dubai prison --without bail, trial, or conviction -- Zack Shahin, an American citizen, is the latest jailed foreigner to declare a hunger strike in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Unlike the other, non-American strikers who are protesting their sentences following various convictions, Shahin has never been convicted of any crime. Instead, he is protesting the failure of the U.S. government to make a public issue with UAE authorities over his imprisonment without bail or trial for more than four years.
“I have been imprisoned for over 1,500 days,” says Shahin, in a message from his prison in Dubai. “My government has never said a word about me publicly, because they don’t want to spoil their comfortable relationship here. Meanwhile, they speak out for people in lots of other countries, like China. Do I have to die here before I get the same consideration?”
Following his arrest in March 2008 amid allegations of corruption against various directors and officers of Deyaar, Shahin has been wrongly singled out as having participated in draining the company of equity. He has been imprisoned without trial by the Dubai government under inhumane conditions for over four years suffering violations of his due process rights under the laws of Dubai. Although various charges have been filed, no resolution of any of them has taken place. Some cases have even been dismissed on the eve before trial, just when Shahin was about to present his defense to the claims against him. Shahin has had over 200 court hearings, yet only 17 lasted longer than 3 minutes and all were less than 40 minutes.
“All I want is due process, to be able to post bail, see my family, and a fair chance to show in court that I am innocent,” added Shahin. “Is that too much for my government to ask? ”
The U.S. government has witnessed these due process abuses, while periodically inquiring about the status of his cases in the Dubai courts and sending its Embassy representatives to court hearings. They have witnessed first-hand four years of delays, due to the prosecutors and judges failing to show up at scheduled hearings. However, the U.S. government appears timid to express a more forceful position in seeking fairness and justice in Zack’s case.
For more information on Zack Shahin’s arrest, visit www.FreeZack.com. U.S. legal counsel for Zack Shahin are Rebekah Poston, James Jatras, and Eric Akers.