An Italian pilot has been detained in Dubai, and is facing a long stint in jail for calling his ex a “b***h” on Whatsapp.
Due to strange cybercrime laws in Dubai, anyone there faces arrest for sending messages deemed “offensive or abusive”.
And now 28-year-old Achraf Arjaouy could be sent to prison after being accused of such crimes by an unnamed Syrian woman.
According to Detained in Dubai the pair met at a shopping centre while on holiday and hit it off.
They began seeing each other but Achraf had been splurging on staycations and being generous towards her requests to support her family.
Eventually, he felt he was being used as the requests seemed “never ending”, so he let his feelings be known.
Whatsapp message show that he called her a “gold digger”, “b***h” and a “thief”.
Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai who has represented a number of defendants in the past said: “Under the UAE’s strict cybercrime laws, any messages deemed offensive or abusive by the recipient can be reported to authorities.
“We have seen a British national charged for a private message on Facebook effectively referring to someone as a horse.
“We’ve seen a woman charged for swearing at her flat mate in a private WhatsApp message and more.
“What is legal, common and private in the West can mean jail time in Dubai. especially when we have either a financial or vindictive motivation behind a report”.
The accused did say that he would be happy to pay a fine and be able to leave by the end of March, but he remains in Dubai on a travel ban and police are “still investigating”.
Ms Stirling added: “Nothing in the UAE moves quickly and Achraf still faces potential incarceration.
“Investigations can take 6 months or more and visitors are expected to be able to fund a forced extended holiday in a luxury destination – the process is part of the punishment and Dubai benefits financially.
“For such a minor infringement, the impact can be devastating.”
Recently, we exclusively revealed how thousands of Brits were being detained in Dubai and the UAW for minor annoyances such as poor hotel reviews and wearing skinny jeans in public.
The Daily Star has reached out to the UAE embassy in the UK for comment.
Have you or anyone you know ever been detained in the UAE? Email: [email protected]
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