Family ‘ecstatic’ as woman detained in Dubai over Facebook post to return home
Laleh Shahravesh was arrested when she travelled to the United Arab Emirates on March 10 for her husband’s funeral.
A British woman held in Dubai over Facebook posts calling her ex-husband’s wife a “horse” is expected to return to the UK after she was fined.
The family of Laleh Shahravesh, 55, were said to be “ecstatic” after a court appearance on Thursday in which a judge ordered her passport to be returned.
The Detained in Dubai campaign group welcomed the news, but cautioned that “serious concerns remain regarding the many risks for foreigners in the UAE”.
Ms Shahravesh, from Richmond, south-west London, was detained under strict cybercrime laws when she visited the country with her daughter Paris, 14, three years after writing the posts.
She called Samah Al Hammadi, from Tunisia, a horse in a post after she discovered her ex-husband Pedro Correia Dos Santos had remarried in 2016.
She was arrested when she travelled to the United Arab Emirates on March 10 for Pedro’s funeral after his death from a heart attack.
Her teenage daughter Paris was allowed to return to Britain after the pair were held by police for 12 hours, but Ms Shahravesh’s passport was seized, Detained In Dubai said.
The campaign group said Ms Hammadi did not attend Thursday’s hearing and had appointed a new lawyer who asked for more time to review the case.
Later on Thursday a spokesman for the group said: “After an emotional but anti-climactic court hearing this morning, in which the judge adjourned Laleh’s case until a later date, Detained in Dubai received the welcome news that the judge has ordered Laleh to pay a fine of 3,000 UAE Dirham (£624), and that her passport should be returned.
“She is then free to return to the UK.“
At the time of writing, Laleh’s attorney has paid the fine, and procedures are under way to recover her passport.
He said “She should be home by early next week. Laleh’s family is ecstatic.
“Daughter Paris is relieved, and all involved express their gratitude for the outpouring of public support.”
Following up with @Jeremy_Hunt on behalf of Paris, daughter of #FreeLaleh on what intervention the FCO is making to try to free British citizen arrested over 'horse’ insult. Paris has said the British government “could do a little more".— Radha Stirling - CEO @detainedindubai 🇺🇸🇦🇺🇬🇧 (@RadhaStirling) April 11, 2019
Radha Stirling, the campaign group’s chief executive, said: “We maintain that the case against Laleh should have been dismissed at the outset, and while we are pleased that her nightmare is over, her conviction on this absurd case sets a dangerous precedent.“
“We are pleased that Laleh will be allowed to return home to be reunited with her daughter Paris; but serious concerns remain regarding the many risks for foreigners in the UAE, as well as the apparent docility of the UK consular staff in the Emirates and the refusal of the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) to update its travel warnings for British citizens to provide them with a more accurate evaluation of the dangers they face in the UAE.”
The British mother had faced two years in prison and a £50,000 fine.