DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an unexpected turn of events, Dubai's Cassation Court yesterday remanded the decision of an appeals court that overturned the conviction of Zack Shahin originally decided in March 2013. The Cassation Court's decision overturns the appellate court's November 2013 holding that a lack of evidence could not support the conviction. Since the Cassation Court's judgment entry has not been filed, it is unclear the exact reason for this decision. This decision comes only one day into Shahin's hunger strike, demanding further U.S. involvement in his case.
U.S. legal counsel for Zack Shahin issued the following statement: "The Cassation Court's decision reinforces the contention made by human rights groups and many other governments, including the U.S., that the legal system in the U.A.E. is broken and needs to be overhauled. It took Dubai authorities nearly six years to find a way to keep Zack in prison. The prosecution's case and court rulings have clearly been based on speculation and fabricated evidence. For the Cassation judge to delay today's decision twice before, and then to remand the case back to the appellate court merely adds time on Zack's already-indefinite imprisonment. This should be very obvious to the the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
"Zack Shahin has received little in the way of support from the U.S. government, which knows just how dysfunctional the Dubai legal system is. For six years Zack Shahin's government in Washington and U.S. embassy officials in the U.A.E., have allowed the persecution, not prosecution, of a U.S. citizen. Instead of urging Dubai authorities to end the politically motivated cases against Shahin, the U.S. government has sat idly by. It is high time that U.S. President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and U.S. Ambassador Corbin publicly object to these delays and state their dissatisfaction with the Dubai justice system's procedural improprieties and lack of due process for Zack."
The Dubai judiciary has been criticized for being politically controlled and this decision suggests that forces beyond the laws of Dubai were used to render the Cassation Court's decision. To further bolster this point, and before yesterday's decision, Shahin was the longest held prisoner without a conviction. And he remains such, unless and until the appellate court renders it decision - whenever that might be. It is readily apparent that the only decision the Dubai authorities will be satisfied with is a conviction or keeping Zack in prison indefinitely.
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 prosecutors unsuccessfully appealed this decision and the not guilty verdict was upheld in a similar case. 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 six 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 rights to a fair trial, Washington continues to tread lightly.
For more information on Zack Shahin's arrest, visit www.FreeZack.com. U.S. legal counsel for Zack Shahin are Eric Akers and James Jatras.
For more information, please contact Darren Spinck, 202-669-4418/Darren@gscgrouppr.com
SOURCE U.S. Legal Counsel for Zack Shahin