Dubai Brit facing jail for insulting ex’s wife
Londoner Laleh Shahravesh arrested for calling former husband’s new partner a ‘horse’
A British woman is facing up to two years in prison in Dubai for allegedly insulting her former husband’s new wife on Facebook.
Londoner Laleh Shahravesh, 55, was arrested at Dubai airport after travelling to the Gulf state with her 14-year-old daughter to attend her ex’s funeral following his death from a heart attack, The Guardian reports.
The BBC reports that Shahravesh and Portuguese-born Pedro Manuel Coreia Dos Santos were married for 18 years, during which time they lived in the United Arab Emirates for eight months.
“While she returned to the UK with her daughter, her husband stayed in the United Arab Emirates, and the couple got divorced,” the news site reports.
After learning that he was remarrying in 2016, Shahravesh posted two comments in Farsi below a Facebook photo of the newlyweds, including one that said: “I hope you go under the ground, you idiot. Damn you. You left me for this horse.”
A second comment reportedly said: “You married a horse, you idiot.”
The new wife is then believed to have reported the comments to Dubai police. Under the UAE’s cybercrime laws, a person can be jailed or fined for making defamatory statements on social media, regardless of whether those comments are made before they visit the country.
Sharavesh is the first British woman known to be charged under the laws, says The Daily Telegraph.
She now faces up to 24 months in jail and a fine of £50,000 following her arrest, in March. She “has been forced to remain in Dubai in a hotel as she awaits a court appearance, losing her job and plunging into debt in the process”, the newspaper adds.
Her teenage daughter was later allowed to fly home alone and is reportedly staying with relatives.
A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said its staff are supporting Shahravesh and “are in contact with the UAE authorities regarding her case”.
Radha Stirling, chief executive of support group Detained In Dubai, said “every family member was teary and it was very emotional to speak with all of them”.
“They are all extremely damaged by what has happened and I expect it will be a long and psychological recovery process for them,” Stirling added.