British woman faces jail in Dubai over Facebook post, campaigners say
A British woman is facing two years in jail in Dubai for allegedly using disparaging language about her ex-husband’s new wife on Facebook, campaigners have claimed.
Laleh Shahravesh, 55, of Richmond, south west London, was arrested together with her teenage daughter at Dubai airport in March and now faces up to two years in jail and a fine of £50,000 for two Facebook posts she made while living in the UK in 2016, according to the Detained In Dubai campaign group.
They had been visiting Dubai for her ex-husband’s funeral after he died from a heart attack on March 3, campaigners say.
Her 14-year-old daughter was later allowed to fly home alone and is staying with relatives.
A Foreign Office spokesman said its staff are supporting a British woman and her family following her detention in the United Arab Emirates.
The spokesman added: “We are in contact with the UAE authorities regarding her case.”
Ms Shahravesh had been married to her ex-husband for 18 years and the couple had lived in Dubai for an eight-month period.
She had returned to London with their daughter Paris, while her husband stayed in the United Arab Emirates with a plan that he would join them later.
Ms Shahravesh received divorce papers a few months later and, soon after that, saw photographs on Facebook which said that her husband had remarried, the campaigners say.
It was then that she allegedly posted two online comments which were written in Farsi, including one which stated: “I hope you go under the ground you idiot. Damn you.”
She then allegedly made a disparaging remark about the new wife.
Radha Stirling, who is the Detained In Dubai chief executive and is also representing Ms Shahravesh, said the “experience is heartbreaking” for her client’s family.
This includes Ms Shahravesh’s daughter who is writing a letter to the ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE to appeal for her mother’s release.
Ms Stirling added: “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.”
Ms Shahravesh is currently staying in a hotel.
Ms Stirling is calling on British officials to warn Britons about defamation and UAE’s cybercrime laws.