This was the emotional scene as a British mother detained in Dubai for allegedly calling her ex-husband’s new partner a horse was reunited with her teenage daughter.
Laleh Shahravesh and her 14-year-old daughter, Paris, were reunited on Friday morning after the 55-year-old was fined and released by Dubai officials on Thursday.
The family of the London mother were said to be “ecstatic” after a court appearance in which a judge ordered her passport to be returned and that she was free to go once she had paid a fine.
Well-wishers and supporters of Ms Shahravesh greeted her with bouquets of flowers at Heathrow Airport.
Ms Shahravesh was greeted by her daughter and sister early on Friday morning at the London Airport, after she was granted release. The pair were in tears as they hugged each other.
The Detained in Dubai group said: “After an emotional but anti-climactic court hearing, in which the judge adjourned Laleh’s case until a later date, Detained in Dubai received the welcome news that the judge has ordered Laleh to pay a fine of 3,000 UAE Dirham (£624), and that her passport should be returned.”
Ms Shahravesh, from Richmond, had been detained under strict cybercrime laws when she visited the country with her daughter Paris, 14, three years after writing the posts.
She was arrested when she travelled to the United Arab Emirates on March 10 for her ex-husband’s funeral after his death from a heart attack. Authorities had received a complaint over posts made three years ago and Ms Shahravesh was warned she faced prosecution and up to two years in prison.
Speaking to reporters as she landed, Ms Shahravesh thanked her lawyers “who did everything in their power” to get her passport returned.
She also thanked Radha Stirling, the campaign group’s chief executive, for “working tirelessly to get me home”.
When asked about her ordeal previously, Ms Shahravesh said it had been “the most horrendous period of my life”.
She added: “I’ve never been separated from Paris in this way and every day part of my was dying from being away from her, during a time when I knew she needed me the most. So yes, it’s been very traumatic”.
Ms Stirling said: “We maintain that the case against Laleh should have been dismissed at the outset, and while we are pleased that her nightmare is over, her conviction on this absurd case sets a dangerous precedent.
“We are pleased 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, as well as the apparent docility of the UK consular staff in the Emirates and the refusal of the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) to update its travel warnings for British citizens to provide them with a more accurate evaluation of the dangers they face in the UAE.”