An American businessman who’s been locked up in the United Arab Emirates for 15 years for crimes his family says he didn’t commit (fraud, embezzlement, etc.) may only have weeks left to live unless he’s allowed to return to the U.S. for proper care.
Dr. Sanford Lubetkin, a Houston-based cardiologist, revealed details of inmate Zack Shahin’s condition in a letter he penned to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday.
“This patient has disease in multiple organ systems, and his long-term prognosis is dire. His overall health conditions are unacceptable at best,” Lubetkin wrote.
“Mr. Shahin needs to be closely monitored and managed to avoid sudden organ failure. I urge you to take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to facilitate a compassionate medical release so that Zack can return to Houston,” he added.
Imagine you are a hardworking businessperson, business doing well, then you find yourself caught up in a diplomatic dispute in a foreign land, a political power struggle that is nothing to do with you…
— Zack Shahin #FreeUSAZack #BoycottExpo2020 (@freeusazack) November 24, 2021
According to the Daily Mail, in recent months Shahin’s condition “has become so grave he is now fighting for his life in hospital after suffering a devastating array of medical issues including massive coronary disease, an infection in his lungs, rotting flesh and skin sores from a deadly pseudomonas infection he contracted via unsterile operating equipment.”
Speaking with the Daily Mail, Shahin’s 30-year-old son, Ramy, said he talks to his father at least once a day, despite it being agonizing to hear his father suffer so much.
“He is broken without much hope, and no one seems to care. I just want to try and help my dad to get the care he needs. Otherwise, he will die,” Ramy said.
Last month Ramy, his grandmother on his father’s side, and Diane Foley, the president and founder of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, all sent “mercy letters” to the UAE begging for his father’s release.
Ramy told the Daily Mail that his family has been bitterly disappointed by the State Department’s response to their pleas.
It doesn’t help that news of Shahin’s condition comes only weeks after the Biden administration brokered a deal that resulted in WNBA star Brittney Griner being released from Russian detention.
“Shahin’s son previously said he felt the State Department ‘abandoned’ his family to focus efforts on getting WNBA star Brittney Griner released from Russian detention,” according to Fox News.
“As the Shahins spent nearly two weeks working with State officials to send mercy letters to the United Arab Emirates, Dubai was simultaneously helping the U.S. facilitate the prisoner exchange that led to Griner’s freedom,” Fox News reported.
This is American businessman #ZackShahin.
Zack is today spending his 4,985th day languishing in a #Dubai jail for a white collar crime he did not even commit.
— Zack Shahin #FreeUSAZack #BoycottExpo2020 (@freeusazack) November 20, 2021
The State Department has been in touch with the family. It’s just they haven’t really said or done much of anything.
When the family sent the department Shahin’s medical records that for some reason the Biden administration was unable to obtain on its own, this is what the State Department wrote back:
“Good Afternoon Ramy, Thank you for sending this information. We are not medical experts but it is always helpful to have a more complete picture of your father’s current health status. We continue to work on your father’s case and I will be sure to circle back when I have substantive updates to share.”
Ramy wasn’t pleased.
“They gave me the same dry, nonchalant response I have gotten in the last 3-1/2 years. The sense of urgency in me is through the roof. I speak to my dad and he is hollow and empty. He is in a government hospital rotting from the inside out. He needs to come home and spend whatever amount of days he has left with his family,” he said.
“I am frustrated and upset with President Biden and the State Department and Secretary Blinken. There is lack of action and no sense of urgency to just help us out. I am calling on them to do more for my dad and bring him home. It’s time,” he added.
❌ Arbitrary Detention
❌ Unfair Trial
Zack has been imprisoned since 2007 in #AlAwir jail – for a crime he didn’t even commit.
— Zack Shahin #FreeUSAZack #BoycottExpo2020 (@freeusazack) November 19, 2021
It appears that the only person doing anything substantive about Ramy’s father is Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
In a statement to Fox News, Cruz said, “It’s well past time for Zack Shahin to come home and be reunited with his family. I’ve seen the reports about his health and hospitalization, and the undeniable fact is that he is getting worse, not better.”
“This issue is no longer about alleged wrongdoings but basic humanitarian compassion. The Emirates are close and valuable allies, and Americans are watching closely to make sure they do the right thing,” he added.
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