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American held in UAE over video to be released

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 2:30 p.m. CDT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An American who's been held in the United Arab Emirates for roughly nine months is expected to be released.

Shezanne Cassim, of Minnesota, was arrested in April after posting a parody video online about youth culture in Dubai.

In December, he was sentenced to one year in prison, a fine and deportation.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala says Tuesday that Cassim has been moved to a deportation facility for processing. She says: "We understand processing will take a few days at which point he will be returning to the United States."

The United Arab Emirates-owned daily The National has said Cassim and others were accused of defaming the country's image abroad. Cassim's supporters say he was charged under a cybercrimes law that tightened penalties for challenging authorities.

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