A BRIT who faces two years in jail in Dubai after sending her roommate a ‘f *** you’ WhatsApp message has been allowed to return to the UK.
The ‘relieved’ HR manager, 31, who doesn’t want to be named, has returned to her parents’ house in Gloucester and has told friends she is putting the ‘traumatic’ ordeal behind her.
The woman was prevented from leaving Dubai after being detained at the airport on January 30.
She was threatened with jail after her Ukrainian roommate filed a criminal complaint under the UAE’s cyber laws following an argument over WhatsApp.
The women had argued over the use of a dining room table they shared while working from home during the Covid pandemic.
But although the 31-year-old woman was allowed to return home, the Ukrainian woman refused to withdraw her complaint.
Luckily, the Briton escaped with a fine after UK Embassy staff spoke to diplomats in the UAE about his case.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detainee in Dubai, who represented the woman, said media coverage and diplomatic pressure caused her to leave the United Arab Emirates.
Ms Sterling said: ‘She is relieved to have returned home after a very traumatic experience where she knew she could have been imprisoned.
“No one should have to go through this. “
Earlier this month the Briton, 31, told The Sun: “I can’t believe what my roommate did – she was so mean.
“I begged her to withdraw her complaint, but she said, ‘This is a criminal case.’
“I never had any problems. I am shocked that I was criminalized for a private exchange.
Speaking to a person detained in Dubai yesterday, the woman said the text was sent months ago but was only arrested when she was trying to leave the country.
She said: “I would never have expected a European to take advantage of the UAE’s strict laws.
“We shared an apartment and we were all relaxed with each other.
“I have never had any problems in my life and I am shocked that I was criminalized for having a private WhatsApp exchange with someone I have lived with.
“What’s worse, the messages are from months ago and only now, when I have shipped all my things, booked a flight and my visa is about to expire, is- what I find this case.
“I tried to beg her to drop the case, but she doesn’t seem to care about the impact it has. “
Her case is similar to that of Laleh Shahravesh, 55, who in 2019 was jailed in Dubai for calling her ex-husband’s new wife a “horse” on Facebook.
UAE cops detained for the post sent THREE YEARS before he arrived in the country.
Laleh, from Richmond, London, was eventually allowed to leave Dubai after paying a fine of £ 624.
Ms Stirling said: “The UAE’s cybercrime laws have been responsible for many arrests of foreign nationals.
“Visitors to the UAE can be arrested, detained and prosecuted for a swearword, offensive statement or derogatory comment said in the heat of the moment, and the UAE’s cybercrime laws are extraterritorial, which means the statement would have could be made from outside the UAE.
“The absurdity of these laws allows husbands and wives, co-workers, friends, school children, vindictive and mean individuals and provocateurs to hold prison cards on the people they interact with, and they don’t have to. you don’t even have to know them.
She added: “The human toll is often unimaginable, especially when family members are separated. “