A British woman has been detained and jailed for two years in Dubai for sending 'F*** You' to her Ukrainian flatmate over private Whatsapp chat during lockdown. The argument was over who would use the dining table while working from home in October during the lockdown last year.
The 31-year-old woman, a human resources manager from Gloucestershire, who has been living in Dubai since 2018, was moving back to the UK permanently last week and planned to join her partner and start a new job back home. However, she wasn't allowed to catch her flight and was pulled aside by airport authorities who informed her that she is barred from leaving the country due to a police case against her. The woman now faces up to two years in jail or would have to pay thousands of pounds as fine. She has already shipped her belongings to the UK and was taking one of the limited flights home when she was apprehended by airport authorities.
The Sun reports that the woman has no cash and nowhere to live while on bail awaiting trial. She is currently staying with a friend and waiting for her court date, which may be months off. Her visa also expires in eight days.
After several trips to police stations, she found out that her flatmate had lodged a police complaint against her over the heated argument stating that she felt offended. The flatmate refused to drop the case even after the British woman begged her to do so.According to the report, the woman said it’s a shock to her that she has been criminalized for a private exchange.
Daily Mail reports that Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International, is representing the woman now and hascautioned other visitors that UAE’s overreaching cybercrime laws have been responsible for numerous arrests of foreign nationals.
In her statement, Stirling said that visitors to UAE can be arrested, detained and prosecuted over a swear word, an offensive statement or derogatory comment said in the heat of a moment.