Woman faces “£100,000 fine and 2 years in prison” for WhatsApp message in Dubai



British woman in tears after Dubai police advise her she faces a “500,000 dirham fine, two years in prison and deportation”.


Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International announced in the Gulf in Justice Podcast, that the woman detained in Dubai has been asked to attend the police station today in an attempt to persuade the Ukrainian complainant to drop the case. Stirling said “the woman has been told she faces £100,000 in fines, imprisonment and deportation, and was in tears last night. The UAE has criminalised practically every visitor to the country under their vague and poorly drafted Cybercrime laws. Today’s news really hit home for the woman, who has never been in trouble in her life. She is entangled in an alien legal system and the seriousness of a simple WhatsApp message sent to a fellow European in the heat of an argument, is difficult to comprehend. It is a nightmare for her. “This situation is incredibly common, but most cases are not brought to the media. Even if she were only issued a small fine, she would still be processed through the legal system and held in Dubai for months. This alone can ruin lives and cause significant financial and emotional damage. Imagine facing all of this over a simple WhatsApp message sent in private.

“The FCO’s hands off approach to the UAE is unacceptable. When we see countries like Malaysia, the US and Canada helping their citizens, we have to ask why the UK isn’t? The UK is one of the UAE’s strongest allies on many levels and can not genuinely say they have no influence. Why is the UK allowing such active tourism marketing towards its citizens, but not demanding their safety?”



Radha Stirling founded Detained in Dubai in 2008 and has since helped and advised more than 15,000 foreign nationals facing trouble in the UAE. Stirling is an expert witness, civil and criminal justice specialist, legislative, investment risk, business and policy advisor to the public and private sectors, speaker and host of the Gulf in Justice Podcast, covering the region in depth.


Further resources:

UK Embassy responds to woman detained in Dubai over WhatsApp - at the Detained in Dubai Newsroom

Woman stuck in Dubai over WhatsApp "frightened to death" - at the Detained in Dubai Newsroom

Brit detained in Dubai over WhatsApp message - at the Detained in Dubai Newsroom



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