Hunger strike at Dubai prison over debt sentences

Published:  24 May at 6 PM
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Five expats jailed in Dubai have announced they are among a small group of prisoners who are on a hunger strike to resist the lengthy prison sentences for financial crimes assigned to most of them.

The men, the majority of them businessmen and real estate developers working in Dubai in its economic boom years, went into debt when the United Arab Emirates’ real estate bubble burst after the global credit crisis in 2008.

Zack Shahin is an American citizen accused of embezzling money while working at Deyaar, was taken under arrest in 2008 following a corruption investigation. He is one of the people going on a hunger strike in the UAE’s jail. There have been many hearings on his case but there has been no judgment.

Shahin says he no longer wishes to engage in, what he describes as, “this game.” He is in prison for four years and a half without a judgment, he explained, calling it “inhuman". He has told his daughter that he is going home, even if he arrives home in a box.
There are reportedly around 16 men taking part in the protest against the sentences given to them for bouncing cheques, which is a crime in the UAE, and punishable by jail terms or fines.

The public prosecution service and police in Dubai have not responded to repeated appeals for comments, as reported by Reuters.
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