A Minnesota man who was jailed for nine months in the United Arab Emirates is expected to return to the Twin Cities this week.
Minneapolis attorney Susan Burns said the UAE has decided to release Shezanne Cassim, of Woodbury.
Cassim, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen and University of Minnesota graduate was jailed in April after creating a video poking fun of youth hip-hop culture in Dubai.
Last month, UAE authorities sentenced Cassim to a year in prison. Emirati authorities had said Cassim's video violated a cybercrime law.
Since then, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken have pressed for his release. Klobuchar said her request to have Cassim's sentence include his time served factored into the UAE's decision to release him.
His imprisonment also drew pleas from actor Will Ferrell and other comedians who urged the UAE to free him.
The U.S. State Department said embassy staff in Abu Dhabi have been meeting regularly with Cassim and plan to visit him Wednesday.
"The protection of U.S. citizens overseas is one of the Department of State's highest priorities," said Pooja Jhunjhunwala, a department spokeswoman. "We continue to work closely with the UAE authorities to ensure his quick release."
Burns said Cassim is in a deportation center in Abu Dhabi and will leave the UAE soon. She said members of his family spoke to him this morning and are "ecstatic" about his release.
"Shez will definitely come home to Minnesota and will spend time with his family in Woodbury," Burns said. "And he's very happy to be doing so."