Laleh Shahravesh back in UK after horse jibe row in Dubai | - South Africa News

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Laleh Shahravesh with daughterImage copyright Detained in Dubai
Image caption Laleh Shahravesh was arrested in Dubai when she arrived with her teenage daughter Paris for her ex-husband’s funeral

A British woman has said facing prison in Dubai over a jibe she posted online was “the most horrendous period of [her] life” as she returned to the UK.

Laleh Shahravesh, 55, had faced up to two years in jail after calling her ex-husband’s new wife a “horse” on Facebook.

Her case was settled with a AED3,000 (£625) fine on Thursday, the campaign group which represented her said.

Ms Shahravesh embraced her daughter Paris, 14, after landing at Heathrow.

The mother-of-one, from Richmond in south-west London, told Sky News: “I’ve never been separated from Paris in this way and every day part of me was dying from being away from her, during a time when I knew she needed me the most. So yes, it’s been very traumatic.”

Ms Shahravesh was arrested in Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on 10 March.

She had travelled there for her Portuguese ex-husband’s funeral following his death from a heart attack at the age of 51. She was married to her Pedro for 18 years.

“You married a horse you idiot”

The couple lived together in Dubai for eight months – where Pedro worked for HSBC – before Ms Shahravesh returned alone to the UK with the couple’s daughter.

In 2016, she received divorce papers and discovered on Facebook that Pedro was remarrying.

Writing in Farsi on Facebook, Ms Shahravesh said: “I hope you go under the ground you idiot. Damn you. You left me for this horse.”

In another post, she wrote: “You married a horse you idiot.”

Campaign group Detained in Dubai – which represented her at a hearing on Thursday – said Ms Shahravesh’s ex-husband’s new wife, who lives in Dubai, had reported the comments.

Under the UAE’s cyber-crime laws, a person can be jailed or fined for making defamatory statements on social media.

Detained in Dubai chief executive has called on the Foreign Office to provide more explicit guidance about the risks of travelling to the UAE.

Radha Stirling described the fine as “symbolic”, adding that the UAE’s cyber laws were “a loaded gun pointed at the head of anyone using the internet”.

She added: “Laws are supposed to protect people, protect their rights and freedoms, but the UAE’s cybercrime laws do the opposite.

“Everyone travelling to or through the UAE is endangered by them, and not everyone who falls victim to these laws is guaranteed media coverage. In the absence of international support, they will be subjected to the full force of the law.

“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.”

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