‘Horse’ Facebook post comes back to bite angry ex-wife
Brit not allowed to leave Dubai after calling ex's new wife a horse online - and she wasn't even in the UAE at the time
A British mother is facing jail in Dubai after branding her ex-husband an “idiot” and his new wife a “horse” on Facebook, campaigners say.
Laleh Sharavesh, 55, lives in London but was detained by authorities in the United Arab Emirates last month when she tried to attend the funeral of her former partner.
Her arrest stemmed from two Facebook comments she made on pictures of her husband remarrying in 2016, which his new wife sent to the police, according to campaign group Detained in Dubai.
She had been in Britain when she posted the comments, but her ex-husband and his wife were living in Dubai.
Under the cyber crime laws of the desert kingdom, someone can be jailed for making defamatory comments online, even if they were not in the country at the time.
It means Sharavesh could now face up to two years in jail and a fine of £50,000, the campaign group said.
She has been forced to remain in Dubai in a hotel as she awaits a court appearance, losing her job and plunging into debt in the process, it is claimed.
Her passport has also been confiscated and her 14-year-old daughter had to fly home by herself.
She said: “I am not allowed to leave Dubai. I have been to court once, where I was not allowed to defend myself. And a police station where we were kept waiting for 12 hours without any progress.
“I am terrified. I can’t sleep or eat. I have gone down two dress sizes because of the stress.
“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.”
The British Foreign Office said it was supporting the mother of one, who is the first British woman known to have been arrested for posting offensive content on social media from outside the UAE.
Sharavesh was married to her Portuguese husband Pedro Manuel Coreia dos Santos for 18 years. They had one daughter together, called Paris.The couple lived in Dubai for eight months, during which time she worked for HSBC. Sharavesh and Paris returned to London several years ago, but her husband did not follow and the two eventually divorced.It is claimed the first she knew of his new marriage was when she opened Facebook and saw pictures of Dos Santos and his bride. Enraged, Sharavesh allegedly wrote in Farsi: “I hope you go under the ground you idiot. Damn you. You left me for this horse.”Another comment reportedly read: “You married a horse you idiot.”The mother and daughter have since built a new life in Richmond, west London, where Sharavesh worked at a homeless shelter.
Dos Santos died in March at 51, prompting the pair to book flights to Dubai.“Paris wanted to say goodbye to her father,” she said.Sharavesh was arrested immediately upon arrival on March 10 and has been forced to remain in Dubai ever since.Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai, said: “When the UAE introduced cyber crime laws, it rendered almost every visitor to the country a criminal.“Visitors to Dubai are rightfully unaware that they could be jailed for a Facebook or Twitter post made from outside the jurisdiction of the UAE, and made years ago.”Sharavesh is due back in court on April 11.– Telegraph media Group Limited (2019)