A mother on bail in Dubai after calling her ex-husband’s new wife a horse three years ago could be freed, as the complaint against her may be withdrawn.
Laleh Shahravesh and her daughter Paris, 14, were both arrested at the airport when they arrived in the United Arab Emirates last month to pay their respects to her former husband, who died unexpectedly.
The 55-year-old has been accused of breaking a cyber crime law back in 2016, human rights group Detained In Dubai said in a statement.
The new wife complained to the police after Ms Shahravesh made comments about her on social media, which appears to have prompted the arrest.
If found guilty she could face two years in prison and a £50,000 fine. She is currently on bail in a Dubai hotel, while her daughter returned to the UK unaccompanied.
However, in a statement to Sky News on Facebook, the woman who made the complaint said she may withdraw it because of the daughter.
She said: “One of the last messages he [the late husband] tearfully gave me before his death was that he deeply loved his daughter. I am willing to withdraw this case to honour my husband’s love for his daughter.”
Although Ms Shahravesh admitted making two comments against the new wife, the alleged victim claims there were other abusive comments.
The complainant added: “I am grateful that the laws of Dubai give me the means to seek protection. This is a country that cares about the welfare of all its residents, including expatriates, and I deeply appreciate the protection that its laws and law-enforcement system offer to people like me.”
Her comments come as Detained in Dubai report that daughter Paris had “written a heartfelt letter” to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and vice president of the UAE, asking to be reunited with her mother.
Explaining why she took to Facebook, Ms Shahravesh said: “I reacted badly. I lashed out and wrote two unpleasant comments about his new wife on his Facebook page. I know I shouldn’t have. I should have behaved better, but I felt angry, betrayed and hurt.
“After 18 years of marriage, such a small amount of time apart, he was getting married so quickly. He didn’t even have enough respect for me to tell me in advance.”
The mother’s problem dates back to 2016 when, while living in London, she saw photographs on Facebook that revealed her ex-husband, a Portuguese man called Pedro, had remarried in Dubai. His new wife was a Tunisian woman.
Ms Shahravesh, who works at a homeless shelter, said she was upset and wrote on Facebook in Farsi: “Khak bar sareh bishooret! Lanat be to. Mano vell kardi Barayeh in asbbb.”
This translates as: “I hope you go under the ground you idiot. Damn you. You left me for this horse.”
She said she made a second post that read: “Ba yek horse aroosi kardi ahmagh.”
This translates as: “You married a horse you idiot.”
The mother said she flew to Dubai with Paris on 10 March after they learnt of her ex-husband’s death at the age of 51.
“Paris wanted to say goodbye to her father,” she said. “We flew to Dubai where we were intending to stay for just five days, and were arrested immediately upon entry because Pedro’s new wife… had reported my old Facebook post to the police.”
She said the police had wanted to take her straight to prison but decided against it because she was with her daughter.
“I have been to court once, where I was not allowed to defend myself,” she said. “I am due in court again on Thursday 11 April and face a fine I can never pay plus jail.”
Ms Shahravesh added: “I have lost everything because of this. I have no money left after paying to stay in a hotel here for over a month.
“I have lost my job and am unable to pay for rent on the flat I live in with Paris. Because of this we are about to lose the flat… all of that is less important than being separated from my daughter, and that’s all I want now, just to be back with her.”
British embassy staff in the UAE are helping the mother and her family.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Our staff are supporting a British woman and her family following her detention in the UAE.
“We are in contact with the UAE authorities regarding her case.”
It was not immediately possible to obtain a comment from the authorities in Dubai or the wider UAE.