British woman freed after being arrested for calling ex-husband's new wife a 'horse'

A British-Iranian woman who called her ex-husband's wife a "horse" on Facebook three years ago has been freed from detainment in Dubai, where she had traveled to attend her former partner's funeral, according to BBC

Laleh Shahravesh, 55, was arrested at an airport in Dubai on March 10 after her Portuguese ex-husband's new wife, Samar Al Hammadi, notified Emirati authorities of Shahravesh's disparaging comments on the popular social media platform. Under the United Arab Emirates' cybercrime laws, individuals who make defamatory posts on social media can be fined or jailed. 

Detained in Dubai, an organization that fights against unjust detention and wrongful persecution on behalf of foreign nationals who live in the city, said that the case was settled for 3,000 dirhams — which comes out to approximately $817 in U.S. currency. 

Shahravesh's troubles date back to 2016 when her husband, Pedro, filed for divorce. The two had been married for 18 years and lived together in Dubai for eight months. When Shahravesh learned on Facebook that Pedro would remarry, she posted several messages in Farsi. 

"I hope you go under the ground, you idiot. Damn you," she wrote. "You left me for this horse." 

In another message, Shahravesh wrote, "You married a horse, you idiot." 

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Hammadi caught wind of the messages and reported them to the police. Shahravesh, who had returned to the United Kingdom with her daughter, Paris, following the divorce, flew back to Dubai to attend Pedro's funeral — he died of a heart attack at the age of 51— but was subsequently arrested on an outstanding warrant. 

"We weren't even allowed to go to his funeral," Paris, who accompanied her mother on the trip, told the Daily Mail. "I don't think that's asking too much." 

Shahravesh's lawyer, Michel Chalhoub, pushed the case's presiding judge to resolve the issue quickly, but an attorney representing Al Hammadi reportedly wanted more time to review it. Shahravesh was ultimately convicted but allowed to pay a fine, get her passport back and return home. 

"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," Radha Stirling, Detained in Dubai's chief executive, said in a statement. 

Shahravesh is the first British citizen to be charged under the UAE's cybercrime laws, the Daily Mail pointed out. 

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