Who is Zack Shahin? Family of US citizen dying in UAE prison slams Biden admin for ignoring pleas for help

Who is Zack Shahin? Family of US citizen dying in UAE prison slams Biden admin for ignoring pleas for help
Zack Shahin has been held in Dubai for 15 years and is reportedly close to his death. (Facebook/Freeusa-zack)

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: The family of an American man named Zack Shahin, who is being held in a prison in the United Arab Emirates, blasted the Biden administration for disregarding their plea for help after successfully negotiating the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner.

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The family of Zack stated that he has been held in a prison in Dubai for 15 years and is reportedly near death. However, the Biden administration has ignored their pleadings for help in bringing him home. "I feel like the fact that the United Arab Emirates helped broker the deal for Griner's release was kind of a slap in the face to my family and I," Ramy Shahin, Zack's son, stated to Fox News co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy on Sunday, January 15. "And they gave my father's case... not an ounce of respect." Zack was kidnapped in 2008 during a business meeting due to fraud suspicions. He was given a sentence of more than 50 years in harsh prison conditions, but his family has emphasized his innocence.

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Ramy stated, "He's an American citizen that's been abandoned by the Biden administration as well as the State Department. Nobody has answered our plea for help, and then seeing Brittney Griner get all the attention... maybe we're not famous enough. We're just an ordinary American family, and they completely ignored us." 

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Zack's family claimed they had attempted to get the government to step in through the Levinson Act, which offers support to family members of those who are arrested overseas but was unsuccessful. Aida Dagher, Zack's sister-in-law, claimed that although his case mostly complied with the requirements of the bipartisan measure, the government nonetheless turned a deaf ear to it.

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Dagher stated, "We had seven criteria out of the 11, and we did not get any form of response. We just got ignorance. In fact, we're getting neglect and ignorance from the State Department, from the Biden administration. There is complete silence."

"We are demanding answers," Dagher added. "Why was he denied? President Biden promised to take care of wrongfully detained Americans. He is very much wrongfully detained. We don't want to talk here about how innocent he is because he is... it took them nine and a half years to convict him."

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Dagher stated, "They had nothing against him. The big four auditing firms went through his accounts. There was nothing, no provisions, nothing." Zack's family was unaware that the United States was also negotiating Brittney Griner's release, which the UAE had assisted with.

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Who is Zack Shahin?

Zack was born in Lebanon and later immigrated to Texas as a child. He started off as a truck driver in Houston, where he lived, and worked his way up the corporate ladder at Pepsi. The last person to see Zack in prison, Martin Lonergan, recounted the "inhumane" and "degrading" conditions he is presently experiencing.

"Zach is dying... I don't know how much longer he'll last. His mental health is failing. He's trying to take his own life several times recently. His conditions are so harsh. It's a wonderful, amazing place for the five-star hotels, but down the road, there is a hell that you cannot imagine," Lonergan stated.

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