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British Woman Arrested In Dubai For 'Calling Ex-Husband's Wife A Horse On Facebook'

Amelia Jones

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| Last updated 

British Woman Arrested In Dubai For 'Calling Ex-Husband's Wife A Horse On Facebook'

Featured Image Credit: Laleh Sharavesh

A British mum is facing jail in Dubai over a Facebook comment she wrote about her ex-husband two years ago.

Laleh Sharavesh, 55, claims she was arrested and thrown into a cell along with her 14-year-old daughter Paris when they arrived in the United Arab Emirates city last month for the funeral of her former husband Pedro Coreia dos Santos.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

Her ex-husband second wife had allegedly reported Laleh's angry 2016 social media post, which Laleh alleges was posted soon after her 18-year marriage had ended.

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The mother and daughter were then detained under Dubai's notoriously strict cyber crime laws.

Laleh's teenage daughter Paris was eventually allowed to return to their home in Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey, alone after 12 'terrified' hours spent in a cell.

But according to a report by the Daily Mail Laleh's passport was confiscated, meaning that, for now, she's unable to leave the country.

The British mum is due to appear in court later this week and faces up to two years in jail and a fine of £50,000.

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"I am terrified. I can't sleep or eat. I have gone down two dress sizes because of the stress," Laleh told MailOnline.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

"My daughter cries herself to sleep every night. We are so close, especially since her father left us and we only have each other. It breaks my heart to be kept apart from her."

Following her husband's wedding to Samah al Hammadi, 44, of Tunisia, Laleh wrote comments in Farsi on a Facebook post in which she called the bride a 'horse'.

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Two posts allegedly read: "I hope you go under the ground you idiot. Damn you. You left me for this horse," and "You married a horse you idiot".

Having admittedly 'lashed out' and 'reacted badly', Laleh posted the comments while at home in the UK, not knowing Samah had complained to authorities in Dubai where social media posts can be a criminal offence.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

When Laleh and her daughter arrived for a five-day trip to say goodbye to Paris' father, Pedro, 51, who had died of a heart attack, they were immediately arrested at the airport.

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Immigration authorities had an outstanding arrest warrant following the 2017 complaint from Samah, the British mum alleges.

Laleh claims to have been offered a statement to sign in Arabic, but the translation of the Facebook post she wrote in Farsi was incorrect and that the word 'horse' had been substituted for 'b**ch'.

The detained mother claims she has since 'lost everything' including her job at a homeless shelter, amassed £5,000 in debt having to find accommodation in Dubai, and is facing eviction at her British property as she can't afford to pay the rent.

"All of that is less important than being separated from my daughter, and that's all I want now, just to be back with her," she explained.

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According to Laleh's sister Laden, the family have appealed to the British Embassy for help but were told they could not intervene.

However a spokesman for the UK Foreign Office told The Times that they were supporting a British woman detained in the UAE, saying: "We are in contact with the UAE authorities regarding her case."

Credit: Pexels
Credit: Pexels

Radha Stirling, CEO of human rights organisation Detained In Dubai is representing Laleh legally, and said Paris is going to write a letter to the ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed, in a bid to appeal for mercy and her mum's release.

Radha added that the 'draconian' laws are confusing for British foreigners who would not know they were committing a crime.

The UAE's cyber crime laws prohibit sharing information about charities online such as Amnesty international, fundraising, sharing photos taken in public, and anything defamatory written against the state.

Other little-known and confusing foreign laws include:

  1. Chewing gum in Singapore: The sticky stuff caused years of maintenance issues in public housing keyholes and on lift buttons, so former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew decided to ban it altogether in 1992. The only exception is chewing dental or nicotine gum, which must be bought from a doctor or registered pharmacist. Fancy some Hubba Bubba? You could face a fine of up to S$100,000 (£56,584), or two years in prison.
  2. Travelling with medication globally: The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is urging people to make sure they're clued up on local laws before packing their medication this summer. Pseudoephedrine found in the likes of Sudafed and Vicks in Japan. Sleeping- and anti-anxiety pills and strong painkillers all require a licence in Singapore. And medications commonly prescribed in the UK like diazepam, tramadol, and codeine are controlled in Greece and the UAE and bunging them in your luggage could result in a fine, arrest or even imprisonment.
  3. Jaywalking in the US: Crossing the road when the traffic lights don't say 'go' is a criminal offence in America. It's only a low level offence and enforcement varies among states in America, but in Massachusetts for example, people caught will be fined $1 (77p) for their first, second and third offences in any given year, and $2 (£1.53) for their fourth and any subsequent offences. Just use the crossing, people.
  4. Frowning in Milan: According to an old law which has never been overturned, but isn't enforced (that we know of) it's literally illegal not to smile, and is punishable by a fine. The only people who are exempt are people in hospitals and those attending funerals. Resting bitch faces, beware.

Topics: Life News, Real

Amelia Jones
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