Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 July 2019

British woman arrested in Dubai: abused widow 'willing to withdraw complaint' against Laleh Shahravesh

Widowed Samah Al Hammadi tells The National she was subject to 'vile' abuse by British-Iranian mother

Laleh Shahravesh, pictured with daughter Paris, was arrested at Dubai airport. 
Laleh Shahravesh, pictured with daughter Paris, was arrested at Dubai airport. 

A widow who says she was the victim of "vile" online abuse from her late husband's ex-wife said she is willing to withdraw the complaint against her.

Samah Al Hammadi alleges she was subject to "constant harassment and abuse" from British-Iranian mother, Laleh Shahravesh.

The 42-year-old Tunisian, who lives in Dubai, sent a statement to The National after Shahravesh's arrest in the emirate made headlines in the UK.

Ms Al Hammadi married the former husband of Ms Shahravesh - Pedro Manuel Coreia Dos Santos - after his divorce. She says a torrent of hateful and mocking comments were made against her on social media after that.

She and Mr Dos Santos filed a police case in Dubai against Ms Shahravesh- who lives in the UK - in February 2017.

Mr Dos Santos died of a heart attack last month aged 51.

One of the last messages he 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

Samah Al Hammadi

“I would like to clarify that both my late husband and I had been facing constant harassment and verbal abuse from Ms Laleh Shahravesh over the past few years,” said Ms Al Hammadi.

“She has used vicious abuse and offensive language to harass both of us, causing us extreme distress and mental torment.

“I have been a resident of the UAE for the past 15 years and never before in my stay here have I faced the kind of aggressive abuse that Ms Shahravesh subjected us to.

“In these circumstances, my husband and I were forced to file a case with Dubai Police to seek protection against her extremely vile actions.

"Even after the death of my husband, Ms Shahravesh continued to tarnish my husband’s reputation on social media with offensive messages and posts."

Dubai Police said Ms Shahravesh was arrested when she travelled to Dubai with her daughter on March 10, due to the outstanding warrant. Ms Shahravesh said she was in the city for his funeral.

Officers said she is not being held in custody but she remains in Dubai and her case is being examined by prosecutors. Suspects usually have their passport held by the authorities.

“At this time of grief, all I seek is to mourn in peace without having to go through the added distress of dealing with offensive behaviour," Ms Al Hammadi said.

“I am pursuing this case because I believe it is my duty to honour my late husband and protect him from further defamation. One of the last messages he 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.”

Ms Shahravesh, who lives in London, was charged with cyber crimes for posting offensive remarks about Ms Al Hammadi on social media.

Among the comments she made, in Farsi, was translated as “I hope you go under the ground you idiot. Damn you. You left me for this horse”.

A second comment said “you married a horse you idiot.”

Ms Shahravesh could face punishment of two years in jail and a substantial fine if found guilty in court over the social media posts.

Ms Shahravesh told British media she made the comments after discovering her former husband had remarried.

“I had no idea he was getting married again, and so soon after our own marriage broke down,” she 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."

Dubai Police said officers attempted to resolve the issue last month without pursuing the case further, but that Ms Al Hammadi would not drop her complaint.

“The British woman, who has never been held in police custody, confirmed that she did make the offending statements,” a police spokesman said.

“Dubai Police attempted to reconcile the parties. However, the surviving complainant refused to withdraw her complaint.

“In accordance with due process the matter was then transferred to the Department of Public Prosecution.

“The British Embassy was informed of the matter and is in contact with the British woman.”

Updated: April 8, 2019 09:14 PM

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