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  • Detained in Dubai

Cosmopolitan covers Detained in Dubai

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

Going on holiday or on a backpacking adventure is a lot of fun; it's why so many people do it. But something that could ruin that fun big time would be, er, getting arrested in a foreign country - especially if you weren't even aware you were breaking the law.

Research by flight comparison site JetCost revealed that 63% of people fail to look up local laws before travelling overseas, so with that in mind, and to help you avoid any future unfair stints in foreign prisons, we thought we'd round up some of the tiny, seemingly insignificant things that could get you arrested or in big trouble in certain destinations abroad. 1. CALLING PEOPLE NAMES ON SOCIAL MEDIA

A British woman may have to serve two years in a Dubai prison for calling her former husband's new wife a "horse" on Facebook, according to campaign group Detained in Dubai. Laleh Shahravesh, who had previously lived in the UAE country but relocated to the UK, was visiting Dubai to attend her ex-husband's funeral along with their 14-year-old daughter.

But upon arrival, Laleh was arrested under the country's cyber-crime laws, which mean a person can be jailed and fined for making defamatory statements on social media. In 2016, Laleh had seen photographs of her ex-husband with his new wife, and in a burst of anger commented: "I hope you go under the ground you idiot. Damn you. You left me for this horse".

Despite the fact the comment was posted when Laleh was in the UK, her former husband's new wife reported it to police and authorities arrested the woman when she next arrived in the country. She could be sentenced to up to two years in prison and fined £50,000 as a result of her charges.

Chief executive of Detained in Dubai, Radha Stirling, told BBC News that "no-one would really be aware" of the severity of cyber-crime laws in the UAE 2. CHEWING GUM

In Singapore, chewing gum is illegal. After the sticky stuff caused years of maintenance issues in public housing, with people sticking it inside keyholes or on lift buttons, former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew decided to ban it all together in 1992. The only exception to the rule is chewing therapeutic, dental or nicotine gum, which must be bought from a doctor or registered pharmacist. Fines for those caught selling unauthorised gum can be up to $100,000, or even 2 years in prison, so be careful not to pack a load of the stuff in your luggage or you could find yourself in hot water.