DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lawyers for imprisoned U.S. citizen Zack Shahin have renewed their request for intervention by the U. S. Department of State, arguing that the continued reluctance of the U.S. government to publicly urge Dubai Authorities to release Shahin, who remains innocent of charges filed against him, is a dereliction of the U.S. government's duty to protect the life and interests of Americans abroad.
"Numerous letters have been sent, both to Washington and the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the U.A.E., none of which have been answered. Although Senator Sherrod Brown was kind enough to inquire about Zack's case, the response contained nothing we did not already know," stated Eric J. Akers, co-counsel for Shahin.
In a letter sent March 6, Shahin's attorneys renewed their request for a written response from U.S President Obama and the State Department to the prior communication delivered to a number of State Department officials, including Secretary Kerry and Acting Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs, Elizabeth Jones. "Zack Shahin has reached the end of his options and will perish if his government continues to leave him to his fate," wrote Akers.
What effect the remand by the Cassation Court of Shahin's case in which the trial court imposed a term of imprisonment is, as of now, uncertain due to the lack of an interpretation of the judge's ruling. However, as is reported, to require a new review of his case by a new panel of judges, raises serious questions about the Dubai justice system's overall appellate process and transparency which seems not to exist.
"As far as we know, including what we are able to glean from those officers who visit Zack, no effort has been exerted on Zack's behalf. We can only assume that the American foreign policy is, as it appears to be elsewhere in the world, non-existent," said Akers. "The callous and inexcusable neglect of this American citizen by his own government while U.S. officials busy themselves with issues across the globe having little relevance to our country is a measure of how misguided our foreign policy has become."
Even Shahin's brother has not received a response from inquiries to the State Department, nor from President Obama. In 2012, in response to a letter to President Obama, Zack's brother did receive a letter from a State Department official, indicating the efforts taken to that date. However, neither he, nor Zack's wife have received any written response from letters sent since then.
About Zack Shahin's Plight Since His March 2008 Arrest and Imprisonment:
On March 2, 2014, Zack Shahin declared a hunger strike to protest the U.S. government's unwillingness to intervene on his behalf and demand that Dubai authorities release him after six years in jail without an upheld conviction.
March 23, 2014, will mark the six-year anniversary of Zack Shahin's arrest. Except for the brief period following his release on bail in July 2012 and return that September, he has remained imprisoned without an upheld conviction. In early 2013, Zack was acquitted on the first of four criminal cases against him, all of which stem from the same baseless accusations concerning his tenure as CEO of Deyaar, a Dubai-based real estate company. The prosecutor unsuccessfully appealed this decision and the not-guilty verdict was upheld. In March 2013, Zack and co-defendants were found guilty of embezzlement and received a 15-year sentence. Zack immediately appealed the conviction and the Dubai Court of Appeals overturned the court's decision.
Despite an appeals court overturning Shahin's guilty verdict and a cassation court upholding another not-guilty verdict, after four years of court appearances and continuances, and an obvious strategic maneuver by the Dubai government to deny U.S. citizen Zack Shahin his due process right to a trial, Washington continues to tread lightly.