The family of an American jailed in the United Arab Emirates slammed the Biden administration for neglecting their family’s plea for help shortly after securing the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner.
Zack Shahin has been held in a Dubai jail for 15 years, and is currently on his deathbed, his family says – but the Biden administration has dismissed their urgent calls for intervention to bring 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, told co-host Rachel Campos Duffy Sunday. “And they gave my father’s case… not an ounce of respect.”
“He’s an American citizen that’s been abandoned by the Biden administration as well as the State Department,” he continued. “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.”
Zack was abducted during a business meeting back in 2008 over fraud allegations. He was sentenced to more than five decades behind bars, in horrific conditions, but his family has stressed his innocence.
His family told ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’ that Zack has been fighting for his life in the hospital for the last three months, facing many surgeries, as his body continues to fight an infection.
Zack has reportedly had portions of his body cut away as the infection continues to take hold.
His family said they have pushed for government intervention through the Levinson Act, which provides resources to loved ones who have family members held abroad, but have been unsuccessful.
Zack’s sister-in-law, Aida Dagher, said Zack’s case met a vast majority of the criteria under the bipartisan measure, but the government turned its cheek anyway.
In a final attempt to get Zack home, his family submitted mercy letters to the State Department on Nov. 23. The Shahins went back and forth with State Department officials for nearly two weeks, revising their letters until they were finally sent to the United Arab Emirates on Dec. 6.
The Shahins didn’t know it, but the U.S. was simultaneously negotiating the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner, which the UAE helped facilitate.
“We had seven criteria out of the 11, and we did not get any form of response,” Dagher said. “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. 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,” she continued. “They had nothing against him. The big four auditing firms went through his accounts. There was nothing, no provisions, nothing.”
The last known person to witness Zack in jail, Martin Lonergan, detailed horrific “inhumane” and “degrading” conditions he is currently facing as he endures the fight for his life.
He said while he was there for 10 months. His bed was never changed, he didn’t have access to fresh air, bedding, and was not provided any nutrition.
Lonergan said he lost around 77 pounds, himself, just while he was there.
“Zach is dying… I don’t know how much longer he’ll last,” Martin Lonergan said. “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.”