Record Shows Lack of Willingness By U.S. State Department to Address Human Rights in Middle East; U.S. Citizen Zack Shahin Caught In “no-man’s Land”
WASHINGTON, June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Following the release of the most recent “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011,” by the U.S. Department of State, it is increasingly evident that the U.S. government is unwilling to raise any concern about human rights issues to countries in the Middle East. Whether to curry favor for amicable military or market strategies, the reluctance to address these concerns leaves all persons affected by these violations wondering why the most powerful Western government has taken so weak a stance? And directly caught in the middle is a U.S. citizen beginning his seventh week of a hunger strike, protesting his government’s inaction. Zack Shahin asks whether any voice in the administration will demand justice for him?
In the preface of her report to Congress, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated:
“These reports are part of our broad commitment to promote human rights. Every day, officials from the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and many other government agencies devote themselves to advancing human rights as a priority of U.S. foreign policy. They champion our values in every country of the world and stand up for the inherent rights and freedoms of all people.”
Yet, Secretary Clinton has remained silent, not only during Shahin’s hunger strike, but throughout his captivity, all the while knowing just how dysfunctional the United Arab Emirates legal system really is. Could it be that the United States is viewing the U.A.E. as the only stable and reliable ally in the area, given the unrest in other parts of the Middle East?
U.S. legal counsel for Zack Shahin issued the following statement:
“The Country Report was transmitted to the United States Congress with the knowledge that a U.S. citizen’s rights were violated in a multitude of ways, least of which was the unequal treatment of Zack compared to an Emirati citizen. Not even an election year strategy has prodded the current administration to voice concern in the strongest manner possible. And Congress has as much a responsibility and duty to this American as does Secretary Clinton and President Obama. Yet no Senator or Representative has stepped forward as well.”
“Zack’s health continues to deteriorate and the State Department will not intervene in demanding medical treatment, even after Zack indicated he would bear the expense. Is Secretary Clinton waiting for the inevitable? Where is the zeal she has shown for other non-American citizens? Or were here words in the Preface “hollow?”
Zack Shahin has been on a hunger strike since May 14 to protest American officials’ failure to speak out publicly on his behalf and call on UAE to grant his immediate and reasonable bail. For more information, please visit www.FreeZack.com.
U.S. legal counsel to Zack Shahin are: Jim Jatras, Rebekah Poston, and Eric Akers.
SOURCE U.S. Legal Counsel for Zack Shahin