Family of British mother arrested in Dubai over Facebook post 'ecstatic' about her return home next week

The family of a British woman held in Dubai over Facebook posts calling her ex-husband's wife a "horse" said they are "ecstatic" she will be home next week.

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

Detained in Dubai, the campaign group representing Ms Shahravesh said her passport was to be returned to her and that she would be allowed to fly back to the UK.

Representing Ms Shahravesh, Detained in Dubai said in a statement: "Her case has been settled by payment of a AED3,000 (£625) fine to Dubai Courts." It added it had applied for her passport to be returned.

Dubai authorities are yet to officially comment on Ms Shahravesh's case, but she had faced faced two years in prison and a fine worth up to £50,000.

One of the Facebook posts which campaigners claim could see Ms Shahravesh face two years in jail. Credit: PA
  • Why was she arrested by Dubai's authorities?

Ms Shahravesh was arrested on a trip to Dubai as she travelled to attend the funeral of her ex-husband Pedro Correia Dos Santos, the father of her daughter.

Her daughter, Paris, who was travelling with her, was allowed to return to Britain after the pair were held by police for 12 hours, but Ms Shahravesh's passport was seized, Detained In Dubai said.

She was held after being accused of calling his new wife a "horse" in a Facebook post, after discovering he had remarried in 2016 to a Tunisian woman named Samah Al Hammadi.

A lawyer for Ms Al Hammadi said she was unaware that the case had been dropped and that Ms Shahravesh was allowed to travel back to the UK.

The campaign group said Ms Hammadi did not attend Thursday's hearing and had appointed a new lawyer who asked for more time to review the case.

Speaking to ITV News, Ms Shahravesh's daughter, Paris, said since her mother's detention, she "cries every night".

The 14-year-old said the ordeal was "incredibly difficult" and she "comes home every day and just cries".

"It was unreal. I was beyond shocked. I couldn't believe it," Paris says of the arrest.

"We only went to Dubai to say goodbye to my dad. That's all I wanted. It's as if I was asking for too much."

Speaking to ITV News, Laleh's sister Ledan said: "Paris needs her mum."

She added: "Well this is just breaking my sister, I can't imagine what she is going through. Poor sister, this is just going to finish her off, how much more is she going to suffer?"

Following the latest developments, Detained in Dubai said: "In Laleh’s case, the court issued what amounts to a symbolic fine, but UAE Cybercrime laws are still a loaded gun pointed at the head of anyone using the Internet, exercising their freedom of speech, who lives in, visits, or indeed, who may ever step foot in the UAE."

It further criticised the country's strict cyber-crime laws, stating they do little to protect the "rights of freedoms" of the people they are supposed to help.