In a very weird case of criminal intent where a whatsapp chat an UK woman faces a 2 years jail term. This case is of Dubai where the detained woman was sharing a flat with an Ukrainian woman. Back in October, they had a small tussle over using the dining table for work. The British woman used the term “F@#!%off” in the heat of the moment. Now, this has put her in trouble as the laws in UAE are very strict.
She had shipped all her luggage and belongings to her home country as she wanted to change her job and stay close to her family after this lockdown. She said it was very tough to get a plane in a restricted International travel scenario. She also told news channels and outlets that her VISA was about to expire soon.
She was about to board her flight and picked up by the authorities under the charges bput by her flatmate for a matter that happened a few months ago. When she asked the police as to why she is being taken in custody, the police narrated her about the criminal case filed against her.
The woman told the Sun: ‘I can’t believe what my flatmate has done — she has been so spiteful.
‘I pleaded with her to withdraw the complaint but she said, “This is a criminal case”.’
She spoke to Detained In Dubai, she said: ‘I would never have expected a European to take advantage of the UAE’s strict laws.
‘We shared a flat and we were all casual with one another.
‘I’ve never been in trouble in my life, and I’m shocked that I’ve been criminalised over a private WhatsApp exchange with someone whom I lived with.
‘What’s worse, the messages were from months ago and only now, when I’ve shipped all of my belongings, booked a flight and when my visa is about to expire, do I even find out about this case.
‘I tried to plead with her to drop the case, but she doesn’t seem to care about the impact this is having.’
Radha Stirling (CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International) is representing the woman and has cautioned visitors to the UAE in a statement which was issued today.
Radha Stirling said: ‘We are assisting a British woman who has been held in Dubai over a private WhatsApp message that included a single swear word said in the heat of a stressful, lockdown-induced household dispute.
‘The UAE’s overreaching cybercrime laws have been responsible for numerous arrests of foreign nationals.
‘Visitors to the UAE can be arrested, detained and prosecuted over a swear word, an offensive statement or derogatory comment said in the heat of the moment, and the UAE’s cybercrime laws are extraterritorial, meaning that the statement could have been made from outside of the UAE.
‘The absurdity of these laws allows for husbands and wives, colleagues, friends, school kids, vindictive and spiteful individuals and provocateurs to hold jail cards over people they interact with, and they don’t even need to know them.
‘Complete strangers are able to report social media comments they find offensive to the authorities and under the laws, they will be prosecuted, fined and even imprisoned.’
‘Legal proceedings in Dubai are lengthy, and a frivolous case like this can take months to go through the local system, causing no end of suffering.
‘With hotel accommodation, legal fees and visa overstay fines, an absurd allegation can quickly escalate into tens of thousands of pounds, loss of employment and in a worst case scenario, a prison sentence.
‘The human toll is often unimaginable, especially when family members are separated.’