May 31, 2012 / 7:02 PM / 7 years ago

U.S. says concerned about businessman in Dubai prison

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United States is concerned about the health of an American businessman who has been on hunger strike at a Dubai prison for more than two weeks, the U.S. embassy said on Thursday.

Zack Shahin, a U.S. citizen accused of embezzlement while at the helm of Deyaar, was arrested in 2008 after a corruption investigation. He has been on hunger strike since May 14, an embassy statement said.

“We are gravely concerned about Mr. Shahin’s health after more than two weeks on hunger strike,” said Justin Siberell, the U.S. counsel general in UAE after visiting Shahin.

Shahin has not been formally charged.

“The handling of his case also causes concern about whether Mr. Shahin is receiving equal treatment as measured against defendants accused of financial crimes in the UAE,” said Siberell.

Earlier this month four other expatriates jailed in Dubai said they were among a group of prisoners who have gone on hunger strike to protest against lengthy prison sentences handed down to most of them for financial crimes.

The men, most of them real estate developers and businessmen working in Dubai during its economic boom years, fell into debt when the emirate’s property bubble burst after the 2008 global credit crisis.

Reporting by Amena Bakr, editing by Diana Abdallah

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