WASHINGTON, June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- L. Victor Hurtado, Deputy Chief of Mission assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) met with U.S. citizen Zack Shahin in an effort to convince Mr. Shahin to end his hunger strike. Shahin is protesting his government's inaction to intercede or at least bring attention to the U.A.E. government of the many violations of its own laws by government officials involved with Shahin's situation. Although the Charge d'Affaires could advise Shahin of no new developments, which may have addressed the basis of Shahin's concerns, Mr. Hurtado encouraged Zack to end his protest in hopes that further discussions with the U.A.E. officials may provide some relief. To which Shahin responded: "I did not begin my hunger strike one day after I was arrested, nor one week, nor one month, nor one year, nor one thousand days after I was arrested. I began my hunger strike 1,552 days after I was arrested, and after no positive sign of assistance from the U.S. government was ever shown to me on my behalf! And you ask me to stop this activity?"
U.S. legal counsel to Zack Shahin issued the following statement:
"While President Obama raised funds in Miami Beach last night for his re-election bid and Secretary of State Clinton jetted off to Europe, Zack Shahin continued to languish in a Dubai prison cell without any reasonable offer of immediate bail. Despite pleas from Zack and his family, both private and public, President Obama and Secretary Clinton continue turning a blind eye to the ongoing violations of due process in Shahin's case. How much longer will President Obama and Secretary Clinton kowtow to the U.A.E. royal family? As we've stated before, we understand balancing relations with the U.A.E. government must not be easy considering the volatile nature of the Persian Gulf region. We have never asked for the U.S. government to pass judgment on Zack's innocence. All we have asked is for Zack to be offered immediate and reasonable bail and have an opportunity to prove his innocence in a fair and open trial. As much as the U.A.E. government assumes the U.S. is dependent on the Emirates for security in the Persian Gulf region, the same can be said, many times over, of the U.A.E.'s need for U.S. security assurances. It is time to stop placating the U.A.E. government and Dubai authorities over Zack's case and to call a spade a spade: Shahin's case has been an egregious case of selective prosecution and the U.A.E. government continues its outlandish disparity in following the rule of law with Emiratis and foreign businessmen like Zack. President Obama and Secretary Clinton, your reputations are on the line as we rapidly approach Election Day. Do the right thing, speak out publicly against the due process violations in Zack Shahin's case, and help a U.S. citizen have his day in court and get back to his family in Ohio.
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 UAE to grant his immediate and reasonable bail.