HomeSportsFamily of American Imprisoned Overseas Says US Abandoned Him for Brittney Griner

Family of American Imprisoned Overseas Says US Abandoned Him for Brittney Griner

by Dustin Schutte
Brittney Griner WNBA
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The family of an American imprisoned in Dubai says the United States “abandoned” him while working for Brittney Griner’s release.

In an exclusive interview with FOX News, the family of Zack Shahin talked about his dire situation in Dubai. He continues to face sleep-deprivation, malnourishment and other health concerns during his 15-year imprisonment.

According to FOX News, the Shahin family submitted letters to the State Department in an effort to bring Zack home. On Dec. 6, those messages were finally submitted to the United Arab Emirates.

At the same time, government officials worked with the United Arab Emirates in an effort to free Griner from a Russian prison. The United States worked out an agreement with Russia after the WNBA star’s 10-month detainment.

“They completely abandoned us . . . they completely pushed us to the side,” Zack’s son, Ramy, told Fox News. “Maybe we’re not newsworthy enough for them — we’re not famous, we’re just an ordinary family — and they just left us.” 

Zack was abducted in 2008 by state security after being called into an auditing meeting. He had worked at the Dubai Islamic Bank until March 2008, as political fallout erupted across the country.

He was arrested on charges of fraud, embezzlement and other financial crimes. His family maintains his innocence.

Brittney Griner Released From Russian Prison in December

In February 2022, Russian authorities arrested Griner at a Moscow airport for possessing vape cartridges that contained hashish oil. In August, a court found her guilty on drug-related charges and sentenced to serve a nine-year prison sentence.

After months of working, the United States worked out a prisoner swap agreement with Russia. The two countries agree to a one-for-one prisoner exchange. Russia released Griner and the United States freed international arms dealer Viktor Bout.

“Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner,” President Joe Biden said on Twitter. He also confirmed that the WNBA player is safe. “She is on a plane. She is on her way home.”

Since returning, Griner said she intends on returning to the WNBA.