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British expat in Dubai convicted of kidnapping son

A British expatriate living in Dubai has been convicted of kidnapping her young son, after failing to turn up to a child access visit.

Afsana Lachaux said that she is the victim of a miscarriage of justice, because she was prevented from giving evidence or presenting witnesses at her trial.

Ms Lachaux moved to the emirate in 2010 with her then husband, but they split up in 2011 and in 2012 she was accused of missing a court-ordered access visit with their three-year-old son Louis.

Her defence for not showing up to the meeting is that she was scared due to the threats her ex husband had made and assaults he had carried out in the past, which he denies.

Ms Lachaux claims that her former husband has taken advantage of the legal system in Dubai, which is partly based on sharia law, to gain custody of their son and bring criminal charges against her.

She has not had a passport since 2011 when it was confiscated after her former partner managed to obtain a travel ban on her and their son.

The mother has not seen Louis since October 2013 and has been handed a one month sentence, suspended for a year, by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours.

She told the Telegraph: "I'm shocked at the verdict. I was denied a fair trial.

"The judge dismissed my witnesses and my defence and there has been a consistent pattern of dismissing anything I have to say. My word as a woman and a victim of domestic violence is worthless."

Ms Lachaux's lawyers will now launch an appeal against the verdict.

Her family have pointed out that for the year in which the sentence is in effect, she will have few freedoms, as her passport will be retained by the authorities in Dubai.

This means she cannot travel or rent an apartment, as she would require the document to do so.

In the meantime, Mrs Lachaux faces the prospect of serving jail time or being deported if her ex husband makes a complaint to do with her son.

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