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Congresswoman McCollum’s Statement on the Release of Shezanne Cassim from the United Arab Emirates

January 7, 2014
Press Release


Washington, DC – Today, Minnesota native Shezanne Cassim was released from prison in the United Arab Emirates and is returning home to Minnesota after serving nine months in prison for posting a comedy video on YouTube. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) has been in touch with the Cassim family and worked with the State Department towards a resolution to this case. The State Department informed her that Shezzane Cassim was en route to Minnesota on a flight this morning. 

Congresswoman McCollum released the following statement: 

“I am thrilled that the ordeal Shez has had to endure is now over and he is returning safely to Minnesota. It remains unconscionable to me that UAE officials imprisoned him for nearly a year for the ‘crime’ of making a spoof video.

“Today is a day of great relief for Shez and his family and I wish them all the best as they reunite. I hope to have the opportunity to speak with Shez about his experience in the coming weeks.”


Congresswoman Betty McCollum serves on the House Appropriations Committee.  She is Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.