The British mother arrested in Dubai for branding ex-husband’s new wife a ‘horse’ on Facebook told how she was ‘really happy’ to be reunited with her daughter Paris after flying back into London early this morning.
Laleh Shahravesh, who’d faced being held in a Dubai jail another week over the post made three years ago in the UK, told Mail Online as she met her crying family upon her arrival into Heathrow: ‘I’m just really happy to be reunited with my daughter.
She sobbed with 14-year-old Paris and held her close as she continued: ‘I’d like to thank my team in Dubai who helped me a lot and I’d also like to thank my lawyer who did everything in her power to get me my passport back.’
Laleh Shahravesh, wearing dark shades, a black waistcoat over a black-and-white striped top over black trousers, in a tearful embrace with her family this morning at Heathrow
Laleh Shahravesh, (pictured right) who’d faced being held in a Dubai jail another week over the post made three years ago in the UK, told Mail Online as she met her crying family upon her arrival into Heathrow: ‘I’m just really happy to be reunited with my daughter’
In tearful scenes the family embraced at Heathrow airport this morning. The single mum-of-one had been arrested when she’d arrived in Dubai a month ago over the country’s strict cyber crime laws
Shahravesh sobbed with 14-year-old Paris and held her close and said she was ‘really happy’ to be reunited with her daughter (pictured right)
The family finally reunited today. Laleh’s daughter Paris – who’d been staying with family throughout their ordeal – had earlier described her mum’s release as ‘the best day of my life’.
Wearing dark shades, a black waistcoat over a black-and-white striped top over black trousers, while shielding her face with her long dark hair and her hands, she held her daughter close and they whispered to each other as they cried.
Her family, including one of Lelah’s sisters, had stood waiting at the airport terminal barrier for over an hour with flowers awaiting her arrival and had refused to talk to waiting journalists.
The single mum-of-one had been arrested when she’d arrived in Dubai a month ago over the country’s strict cyber crime laws. She was eventually released yesterday after paying a £600 fine and getting her passport returned to her.
Her daughter Paris – who’d been staying with family throughout their ordeal – had earlier described her mum’s release as ‘the best day of my life’.
Laleh Shahravesh, who’d faced being held in a Dubai jail another week over the post made three years ago in the UK in an emotional embrace with her daughter this morning
Laleh Shahravesh lands in the UK with her expectant family awaiting her arrival
Laleh Shahravesh (pictured after being released with a fine) was barely able to speak to her daughter as she sobbed uncontrollably to tell her that she was now a free woman
Paris (pictured) previously said that she plans to celebrate her mother’s return by going to eat her favourite food
Laleh Shahravesh, 55, was facing jail over the post made three years ago while living in England, and was seen sobbing outside a Dubai court earlier yesterday before she was eventually released with a £600 fine.
The British legal group Detained in Dubai, which supported Laleh Shahravesh, has written to the FCO calling on them to update UAE travel warnings to UK tourists and warn about online postings.
The organisation’s head, Radha Stirling said: ‘We have frequently called upon the FCO to provide more accurate information to Britons about the many risks they face in the UAE which the current advisory does not cover.
‘A British citizen can be prosecuted if they ever visit the UAE, for posting material online in the UK which anyone inside the UAE may deem offensive.
‘It is vital for British citizens to be aware before traveling to the UAE that their entire social media history must adhere to UAE standards of acceptable content before they risk entering the country.
‘If anyone in the UAE is offended by someone’s online content, even if they do not know that person, and even if that person posted the content in a different country; a criminal case can be made and an arrest warrant issued. It is an enormous threat to free speech well beyond the borders of the UAE.’
Speaking to MailOnline previously, her daughter Paris said that she could not stop crying and screaming with joy after her mother rang to say that she was coming home following the court hearing.
Paris, aged 14, said: ‘I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It didn’t seem real. This is the longest time I have not seen my mum and it’s been 30 days of hell. But hearing she is free and coming home is the best day of my life. Nothing beats this.’
Paris revealed that her mother was barely able to speak to her as she sobbed uncontrollably to tell her that she was now a free woman.
Laleh had been arrested on an outstanding warrant on March 3rd when she arrived in Dubai with her daughter. Paris was left to stay with her aunt in Kent.
Paris said: ‘My dream has come true. The call from my mum was very emotional. All I’ve been thinking about these past 30 days is when my mum will come home. Now that it’s going to happen, it still doesn’t seem real. I have to keep pinching myself.’
Paris added: ‘I do everything with my mum. We are incredibly close. We are the best of friends. When I see her I’m going to give her the longest hug ever that will probably last a month to make up for the time we have lost. I’m just going to cover her with kisses and keep telling her how much I love her.’
Paris said that she plans to celebrate her mother’s return by going to eat her favourite food.
‘Mum loves Iranian food and we’ll go to her favourite restaurant. She also likes going to museums so we’ll go to as many as we can. I don’t think she’ll be back until early next week but I’ll be at the airport with the rest of the family. We’re going to have a big party.’
Paris revealed that she could not have got through the past month without the support of her family. She has been staying with her aunt Ledan in Sheerness, Kent and spending time with her cousin Soraya.
She said: ‘ When I got the call from mum, the first person I hugged was Soraya. She has been my rock. I was really worried that my mum might go to prison for a long time but Soraya really helped me through it all. I shared everything with her.’
Ms Shavravesh (pictured, left, with her daughter) insulted her ex-husband and his wife (right)
Paris revealed that she has endured a difficult past 18 months, losing both her father and grandfather and dealing with her mother’s arrest.
‘I feel as if I’ve matured because I’ve gone through a lot for a 14 year old. I can’t wait for mum to get back and for school to start after the Easter break because I want to get on with my life and put all this behind me.’
A judge earlier ruled that even though her mother Laleh had been convicted, she was free to leave the country and has ordered that her passport be returned.
The 55-year-old, who had earlier collapsed outside court after being told her case was being adjourned for a week, was left virtually speechless by the decision.
Weeping tears of joy she said: ‘I am just so happy and relieved that this terrible ordeal is over and I can go home.
‘I just want to see my daughter Paris and give her a big hug. I have missed her so much and she has been so brave. I was distraught when told I had to stay.
‘This has been the most awful month of my life not knowing what is going to happen and if I will be stuck here and kept apart from Paris.
‘As soon as I get passport back I will be on a plane home. I cannot wait.
‘The thought of going to prison for something that happened three years ago while I was not even in Dubai was unthinkable.’
The single mother, who wrote insulting Facebook posts about her husband’s ex wife, was convicted of a misdemeanour under Dubai’s cyber crime laws.
Shahravesh was earlier inconsolable when she thought she could not go home. So much so that she missed the call from her lawyer telling her she was now free.
Speaking exclusively to Mail Online at her Dubai hotel she said: ‘When I got back from the court I was distraught and just collapsed crying.
‘I turned my phone off for a couple of hours and no one could get hold of me. When I turned it back on there was a message from my lawyer telling me to call.
He told me I was free to go. I just burst into tears. I was in shock and could not believe it. My mind was all over the place and so many emotions.’
The British mother (pictured outside court) broke down when she thought she was facing jail. But she has now been released with a £600 fine, and landed back in the UK to be reunited with her family this morning
Laleh said she telephoned her daughter Paris and broke down in tears as she broke the news that they will soon be reunited.
‘We were both in tears, and I cannot wait to see her,’ she said.
‘I just want to get back home as quickly as possible. My mind is spinning over what has happened. I really thought I would be stuck here another week or even longer, and now I can go.’
Officials do not believe they can get her passport returned before Friday when all Government offices are closed.
Judge Mohamed Mustafa Ibrahim Khalil fined her 3,000 Dh – about £600 – and said she was free to leave the country.
The fine is seen as a symbolic amount. Shahravesh’s lawyer is understood to have already paid it in full.
Her lawyer Michel Chalhoub had earlier asked for the case to be resolved speedily and the judge said he would make a decision later.
The campaign group Detained in Dubai, who supported her during the month she was held, welcomed the court’s decision.
CEO Radha Stirling said: ‘We are elated 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.
‘When cases like this are resolved either through the charges being dropped or through a governmental pardon, or a light sentence after a concerted campaign in the international media, while the situation for the individual victim is over, the system that caused that victimisation remains in place, and abuse is inevitably going to occur again.’
Ms Stirling said Dubai’s cybercrime laws were far too draconian and punished freedom of speech on the internet.
She added: ‘We maintain that the case against Laleh should have been dismissed at the outset, and while we are immensely pleased that her nightmare is over, nevertheless, her conviction on such an absurd case does set a dangerous precedent.’
Last night, the single mother’s daughter Paris, speaking back in the UK, had spoken of her hope that the case would be dropped, adding: ‘Every day I come home and I just cry.’
Her mother was at the time facing being held in the UAE for another week before any decision was taken over her fate by breaking the country’s strict cyber crime laws.
Her passport was confiscated and she would have been forced to continue staying in a hotel while on bail.
After recovering from the shock Laleh told MailOnline at the time: ‘I just feel so sick and don’t know how I am going to cope with more time here.
‘I really had hoped that the case would be dropped and I could go home to my daughter Paris.
‘I know she is going to be devastated like me when she finds out. I’m not sure how we will both cope being apart.’
As Laleh was helped into a taxi sobbing she cried out ‘I’m going to die’.
She was so upset that a local woman who had been attending court and never met her before walked her to a taxi. The bystander said: ‘She was in a terrible state and I just had to help her.’
During a short hearing Ms Shahravesh was told that a lawyer representing the woman who has filed a cyber crime complaint wanted more time to study the case and asked for a delay.
The lawyer representing Samar Al Hammadi told the court she is new to the case and needs time to study the complaint file.
The judge said he would make a decision later but after Ms Shahravesh’s lawyer told her it will be a week she collapsed in tears.
Laleh had been charged with insulting behaviour over a three-year-old Facebook post where she called her late husband’s second wife a ‘horse’.
Ms Shahravesh (pictured outside court today) collapsed as she was told she could be held for another week
She is the first Briton to be charged under the UAE’s cyber crime laws that make it criminal offence to write defamatory and insulting words and post them on social media.
In keeping with Sharia Law, Ms Shahravesh sat on one side of the court with other women while her lawyer sat on the opposite side with the men.
After being told that the delay could be up to a week she began sobbing and her lawyer said: ‘I told you this was going to happen.’
Laleh fled the court and was offered a bottle of water outside but was sobbing so much was unable to drink.
Court officials called for a wheelchair and she was taken to a side room used by lawyers.
It was only about 20 minutes after the case had ended that she emerged shaking and weeping as she was ushered to a waiting taxi.
She has been staying at a city centre hotel since being arrested and has run up bills of over £5,000 on lawyer fees and her hotel bill.
Al Hammadi was not in court for the hearing that lasted less than five minutes. Ms Shahravesh’s Michael Haloub told the court the case should be resolved quickly as it was attracting international attention
He told the judge the two women should meet for settlement.
The judge had said he would make a decision later today but Laleh fled the courtroom in tears after being told the adjournment would most likely be a week.
She stood weeping on the steps of the courtroom being comforted by local women.
Al Hammadi had claimed she was the victim of a hate campaign waged over email and social media by Ms Shahravesh.
She first complained to police about a post written in October 2016 on Ms Shahravesh’s own Facebook page where she was described as a horse.
Ms Shahravesh had no idea about the complaint and was arrested on an outstanding warrant on March 3rd when she arrived in Dubai with her 14-year-old daughter Paris.
They had travelled from their home in Richmond, south-west London, after her ex-husband Pedro collapsed and died from a heart attack aged 51.
Speaking to ITV on Wednesday, Paris said: It’s incredibly difficult. Every day I come home and I just cry. Neither of us deserves this, we had to deal with losing my dad; all we wanted to do was say goodbye.
‘We weren’t even allowed to go to his funeral. I don’t think that’s asking too much.’
‘Everyday I feel so empty without you’: Daughter of British mother facing jail writes of her sadness
I miss you mama—so, so much—and everyday I feel so empty without you.
Exhale a breath to relieve life’s dismay. Feel the stars burn far away.
A dandelion sits in my heart, it falters between my valves.
A derelict stream of pain sparks through the circuits of my memory as I gather events like electric shocks.
Parachutes cling to their embroidered stem, but they release their hold as they pound into the revolving atmosphere.
Appealing to Al Hammadi to drop the case, Paris added: ‘Show that you have a heart and that you loved my dad.
‘Every day feels a little harder. I’ve never been without my mum for so long. I hadn’t seen my dad for a while before he passed away and it just feels like my life is repeating itself.
‘It’s incredibly difficult, she’s like my rock. She’s who I lean on, she means a lot to me, more than anything.’
Even though the insulting Facebook post was written while Ms Shahravesh was living in the UK the UAE’s cyber crime laws meant that as the ‘victim’ was in Dubai a prosecution could be brought.
Her passport was seized and she was warned that if the case went to trial it could be several months before a date was set for a hearing. If convicted she could have been jailed for two years and fined £50,000.
Paris was informed of today’s adjournment by her aunt Ledan Perry, who she is staying with at her home in Sheerness, Kent.
‘Paris is absolutely devastated. She cannot even speak at this moment, she’s so upset,’ she said ‘She’s more worried now than ever that her mother could end up in jail. She’s not able to sleep, she’s constantly crying and this adjournment has just made things worse. Paris is under an enormous amount of pressure and anxiety.
‘Paris has lost her father, she’s not been able to mourn him properly. And now she’s worried sick about her mum, which is going to go on for at least another week if not longer. Its heartbreaking that a 14 year old child is having to go through this.’
Ms Perry said that Paris has been spending a lot of time with her 12-year-old daughter Soraya and writing poetry to cope with her ordeal.
She said: ‘Laleh’s situation has affected the whole family but obviously, Paris the most. She hasn’t seen her mum for almost a month. We really hoped the matter would have been resolved today but our pain is continuing.’
Ms Shahravesh claim that the case is being prolonged because of financial matters, accusing her ex-husbands new wife of trying to claim a greater share of his estate.
Ms Perry said: ‘Under Sharia law the bulk of a father’s estate goes to the children. Paris is an only child and stands to get the most from what her father left. His new wife wants more. That’s what this is all about.’
The British mother (pictured) previously broke down over the ordeal. After recovering from the shock Laleh told MailOnline: ‘I just feel so sick and don’t know how I am going to cope with more time here’
The family claim that Ms Shahravesh has already spent around £15,000 on legal costs and her stay in Dubai but have so far raised only £1000 through go fund me.
Ms Perry said: ‘Laleh desperately needs financial support. She could end up losing her flat. We need the British public to get behind her and contribute to her case. We really need their help because my sister and her daughter are suffering, not just emotionally but also financially.’
Samar Al Hammadi told Mail Online she did not attend court as she was working.
Asked if she wanted to reach a settlement with Laleh she said: ‘I have not even talked to my lawyer. I have to find out what was said in court.’
Her husband is believed to have converted to the Muslim faith for his marriage three years ago.
Under Sharia Law the estate of her late husband Pedro will be shared between her and his surviving relatives, with his teenage daughter getting the biggest share.
Legal sources in Dubai said it was likely Samar will seek compensation from Laleh over the insulting posts.
In her statement to police she is understood to have mentioned being compensated. The amount that is paid could vary from £3,000 to £5,000.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, who is representing Laleh, said: ‘It appears that the complainant may be prolonging the process; making it all the more torturous for Laleh and her daughter.
‘There have been ever changing signals by Ms Hammadi since this debacle began; once saying she would withdraw the complaint out of respect for her late husband’s love for his daughter; then saying she would drop the charges if Laleh apologised; and the latest reports are that she is seeking monetary compensation.
Now, she has brought in a new lawyer and caused a further delay. It is frankly shocking that the court is allowing this frivolous use of the Cybercrime laws instead of dismissing the case outright.
‘There is no public endangerment here, no hate speech, no incitement to violence, no threat; the complainant had the remedy available to everyone else who uses social media and takes offence at someone’s remarks: block and delete.
‘It is patently absurd to escalate such a trivial matter to criminal charges, and the court should use this case as an opportunity to clarify that the Cybercrime laws were not enacted to criminalise the pain of a newly divorced mother who has been financially abandoned.
‘Rather than leaving Laleh’s fate in the hands of Ms Hammadi, the court should dismiss the case on its merits, and let her go home to her daughter.’