British mother facing jail in Dubai over Facebook posts branding ex-husband’s new wife a ‘horse’

Monday, 8th April 2019, 1:39 pm
Updated Monday, 8th April 2019, 2:40 pm
Laleh Shahravesh, 55, was arrested along with her teenage daughter at Dubai Airport (Photo: Detained In Dubai)

A British single mother is facing jail in Dubai after branding her ex-husband’s new wife a “horse” on Facebook, campaigners say.

Laleh Shahravesh, 55, was arrested along with her teenage daughter at Dubai Airport, and is facing two years in jail and a £50,000 fine over the social media posts.

‘You married a horse’

Shahravesh allegedly wrote the Facebook posts three years ago after she discovered her former partner, Pedro, had remarried, according to the Detained In Dubai group.

In one post, she wrote, “I hope you go under the ground you idiot. Damn you. You left me for this horse.”

In another, which she wrote in Britain, she said, “You married a horse you idiot.”

Shahravesh (from Richmond, south west London) was arrested with her daughter Paris, 14, at Dubai Airport on March 10, when the pair visited for Pedro’s funeral, one week after his death from a heart attack, aged 51.

The pair were held for 12 hours, before Shahravesh had her passport seized.

Shahravesh allegedly wrote the Facebook posts three years ago after she discovered her former partner, Pedro, had remarried (Photo: Detained In Dubai)

‘Simply unreasonable’

Shahravesh had been married to Pedro for 18 years and they lived together in Dubai for eight months before she returned to Britain with their daughter.

A few months after her return, in 2016, she unexpectedly received divorce papers and saw from photos posted on Facebook that Pedro, who is Portuguese, had remarried.

Her arrest under strict cybercrime laws has been described as “simply unreasonable” by Detained In Dubai.

The Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told reporters in Luxembourg that the government was “concerned” by the situation.

“Our diplomats in the UAE have enormous experience in dealing with consular cases, as we saw from the Matthew Hedges case, and so she is getting the best possible service from the FCO,” he said.

Mr Hedges was pardoned by the UAE in 2018 after he had been given a life sentence for spying for MI6, which was denied by Britain.

Shahravesh is facing two years in jail and a £50,000 fine over the social media posts (Photo: Detained In Dubai)

Further court proceedings

The posts written by Shahravesh were reported by Pedro’s new wife, Samah Al Hammadi, 42, from Tunisia.

Shahravesh said the “unpleasant comments” were simply her lashing out, and that she “reacted badly” after finding out her husband was getting married again, so soon after their own relationship broke down.

While her daughter Paris has been allowed to return to Britain, Shahravesh must remain in Dubai and faces further court proceedings on Thursday (11 Apr).

She said, “I am terrified. I can’t sleep or eat. I have gone down two dress sizes because of the stress.

“And 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.”

Shahravesh claims she has lost her job at a homeless shelter, could lose the flat she shares with her daughter and has borrowed £5,000 from her family.

Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained In Dubai who represents Shahravesh, said the country’s cybercrime laws render “almost every visitor to the country a criminal”.

She said, “Their experience is heart-breaking.

“Not only has Paris lost her father, but in going to visit him to say her final goodbye, she wound up in a frightening Middle Eastern police station and is now without her mother.

“Laleh and her family are unaware of any diplomatic intervention and feel wholly abandoned by their government.”

This article originally appeared on our sister site, The Sheffield Star