WASHINGTON, July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A senior U.S. government official, U.S. Charge d'Affaires in the United Arab Emirates L. Victor Hurtado, on June 29 called upon the U.A.E. to grant U.S. citizen Zack Shahin bail and for a consolidation of Shahin's outstanding pending charges so he may more effectively prove his innocence in the court of law. Shahin, who began his hunger strike on May 14 in protest of the U.S. government's inaction in publicly calling for his immediate and reasonable bail, is pleased for the action taken, and now waits for the U.A.E. government and Dubai authorities to heed Washington's demand for his release.
In the official U.S. government press release, U.S. Charge d'Affaires in the U.A.E. stated: "After more than six weeks, obviously there are serious concerns about Mr. Shahin's health. We continue to urge the authorities to release him on bail, as has been approved but not carried out in the past. In addition, we urge that the several outstanding pending cases against Mr. Shahin can be consolidated, allowing him to defend himself more effectively."
The U.S. government statement continued that "The United States has had significant concerns with the prosecution of Mr. Shahin since his detention in 2008, including his detention for more than one year without formal charges, the failure to release him on approved bail requests, and the apparent unequal treatment of Mr. Shahin as measured against other defendants accused of financial crimes in the United Arab Emirates."
The full statement can be read at: http://abudhabi.usembassy.gov/pr-dubai.html.
U.S. legal counsel to Zack Shahin responded to the U.S. government statement: "We are pleased that the U.S. government has finally publicly called for Zack Shahin's release on bail and for a consolidation of his outstanding cases so that he may more effectively prove his innocence in court. The July 29 U.S. government statement from U.S. Charge d'affaires Hurtado clearly demonstrates that Washington will no longer tolerate the U.A.E. government's and Dubai authorities' egregious behavior since Zack's arrest in March 2008, including previously granting, then revoking, Zack's bail bond. Zack now awaits a prompt and positive response from those who have denied his due process in the U.A.E. The ball is now in Dubai's court. Will Dubai listen to the clear message from Washington and release Zack? Or will Dubai authorities stubbornly continue their violations of Zack Shahin's due process and allow him to die in jail?"
Zack Shahin had 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.