First, a little background. Shezanne "Shez" Cassim is an American living in the United Arab Emirates and has been imprisoned since April for posting what was intended to be a funny video on the Internet. He is being held under a cybercrimes law for endangering public order. The video is a 19-minute short that pokes fun at a clique of Dubai teens who are influenced by hip-hop culture which you can see below.
It's equivalent to someone in the U.S. making a parody video of Brooklyn hipsters and getting thrown in jail for months without bail. U.S. diplomatic officials cannot represent Shez in legal proceedings or pay his legal fees or other expenses. Shez's court date has been continuously been pushed back and his next date has been scheduled for Monday, December 16th.
We want to show our support and the support of the comedy community for Shez by raising awareness around his plight to encourage the UAE to release him. As people who freely use comedy to express ourselves and our beliefs, we are passionate to help Shez in any way we can. This is both a freedom of speech and a human rights issue.
In fact, this coming Tuesday, Dec 10th, is International Human Rights Day. The family is holding a press conference and, in solidarity, we are going to launch campaign in support of Shez to show the UAE that the West is watching and supports him. Our campaign will include:
- Funny Die Site Takeover with a message and content about this issue
- "Free Shez" avatar that FOD will use on its social media accounts that day along with posting information and links
- Ask all our comedian friends to post on social media about the story and change their avatars
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Help raise awareness by supporting any of our efforts and raise as much awareness over the next week to put pressure on UAE government by letting them know the comedy world supports Shez and we are paying attention.
Shez’s imprisonment has placed a heavy financial burden on him and his family. Please contribute to the Justice for Shezanne Cassim Campaign. With your help we can #freeshez.
Account Name: Free Shezanne Cassim Fund
Account Number: 9791771786
Routing Number: 091000019
Contribute via PayPal:
Checks can be made out to the “Free Shezanne Cassim Fund” and mailed to:
2925 Dean Parkway #300Minneapolis, MN 55416