A British woman has been sentenced to a two-year jail term as well as a £50,000 (Rs 45 lakh) fine in Dubai.
Because she called her ex-husband’s second wife a “horse” on Facebook.
Yes, you read that right.
British national, Laleh Shahravesh, was arrested under Dubai’s strict cybercrime laws in March.
Wait, it gets better.
Shahravesh was arrested when she landed in Dubai to attend her ex-husband Pedro Manuel Correia Dos Santos’s funeral.
Commenting on photos of her ex-husband’s second marriage, Laleh Shahravesh had called his new wife Samah Al Hammadi a ‘horse’ and her ex-husband an ‘idiot’. Shahravesh was angry that her husband had left her after 18 years of marriage and remarried in 2016.
Laleh Shahravesh, who discovered that her ex-husband had remarried through Facebook, wrote in Farsi, “I hope you go under the ground, you idiot. Damn you. You left me for this horse.”
She had made the comment while she was in the UK.
Now Shahravesh’s 14-year-old daughter, Paris, has appealed to Dubai ruler’s to free her mother. She wrote in the letter, “I cannot emphasise enough how scared I felt, especially after losing my father just a week before, as I was having to worry about losing my mother as well…I ask kindly: please, please return my mother’s passport, and let her come home.”
The complainant, Samah Al Hammadi, had reported Shahravesh for cyberbullying, leading to the latter’s arrest when she landed in Dubai on March 10 to attend Santos’s funeral.
Hammadi said she was glad to see Shahravesh punished. Talking to British tabloid Daily Mail, she said, “It is a crime in Dubai. It is right. I don’t feel sorry. She made him [Santos] suffer in the last year of his life. Let the law take part.”
She also alleged that Shahravesh had been sending Santos and his boss abusive emails about his new wife, calling her a “b****”.
Speaking on her ordeal, Shahravesh said, “I am terrified. I can’t sleep or eat. I have gone down two dress sizes because of the stress.”
She also expressed remorse over her actions, saying “I know shouldn’t have. I should have behaved better, but I felt angry, betrayed and hurt. After 18 years of marriage, such a small amount of time apart, he was getting married so quickly. He didn’t even have enough respect for me to tell me in advance.”
Shahravesh has not been allowed to leave Dubai as she awaits a court hearing. She has been in the country for more than a month and claims that the cost of living abroad has left her in severe debt.
She has also claimed that she has received little help from British authorities.
But Shahravesh has found an advocate in international NGO Detained in Dubai. “The post would never be prosecuted as a criminal offence in England, and if the UAE intends to detain tourists for posts made from England, it will find itself rendered a no go zone to foreigners,” said Radha Stirling, CEO of the human rights organisation.