Richmond mum held in Dubai over horse Facebook post ‘set to be freed’

A Richmond mum held in Dubai over Facebook posts calling her ex-husband’s wife a “horse” looks set to be released, the campaign group which represents her has said.

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Laleh Shahravesh, 55, was arrested under strict cybercrime laws when she visited the country with her daughter Paris, 14, three years after writing the posts.

Initially there was “no result” when she faced a judge in Dubai on Thursday, according the Detained In Dubai group – but hours later a new update was posted saying she is likely to be freed.

A statement from the group read: “After an emotional but anticlimactic court hearing this morning, in which the judge adjourned Laleh’s case until a later date, Detained in Dubai received the welcome news that the judge has ordered Laleh to pay a fine of AED 3,000, and that her passport should be returned. She is then free to return to the UK.”

Ms Shahravesh had called Samah Al Hammadi, from Tunisia, a horse in a post after she discovered her ex-husband Pedro Correia Dos Santos had remarried in 2016.

She was arrested when she travelled to the United Arab Emirates on March 10 for Pedro’s funeral after his death from a heart attack one week earlier.

Paris was allowed to return to Britain after the pair were held by police for 12 hours, but Ms Shahravesh’s passport was seized and she initially faced two years in prison and a £50,000 fine.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, said: “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.

“We are pleased that Laleh will be allowed to return home to be reunited with her daughter Paris; but serious concerns remain regarding the many risks for foreigners in the UAE, as well as the apparent docility of the UK consular staff in the Emirates and the refusal of the FCO to update its travel warnings for British citizens to provide them with a more accurate evaluation of the dangers they face in the UAE.”

“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.”

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