Dubai: A jobless man has been jailed for three months for threatening to defame a woman by uploading her private photos on Facebook if she did not pay him Dh7,360 ($2,000).
The 27-year-old Egyptian man, N.A., got acquainted with the Palestinian woman through a social media network and established friendship with her in 2015.
After they grew closer and she had willingly sent him her photos through different social media networks, according to records, N.A. blackmailed her and threatened to post her images on Facebook if she did not pay him money.
The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted N.A. of threatening and obtaining money from the woman under duress and coercion.
The accused had pleaded innocent when he appeared in court: “We had been in contact for nearly one year. Now she is in Palestine and we were acquainted through the internet. I did not threaten her.”
Presiding judge Urfan Omar said the woman’s photos would be erased from the defendant’s laptop and smartphone that he had used in the blackmail.
The accused would be deported following the completion of his punishment, according to Thursday’s ruling.
The defendant misused Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp and threatened to dishonour the woman and coerced her into paying him Dh7,360, said records.
When asked how he knew the woman, N.A. replied: “When she first introduced herself to me, she claimed that her age was 21 ... but later I realised that I had been conversing with the mother. I did not obtain any photos of her. We have been trying to resolve the dispute amicably and she had agreed to waive her complaint. Actually, she already tried to mail the waiver by post, but it got stuck there in Palestine. Then she tried to send it online via Dubai Government e-services, but she did not have the case number. I am working on obtaining the written waiver to provide it to the court.”
He also denied taking any money.
A police lieutenant testified that the woman sent them an email complaint alleging that the accused had blackmailed her, threatening to tarnish her reputation, and forced her to send him money.
“She mentioned in her email that she had been subject to blackmail and extortion. Primary interrogation established the defendant’s identity ... then we arrested him. During questioning, he confessed that he got Dh7,360 from the woman after he blackmailed her and threatened to post her photos on Facebook,” the lieutenant testified.
The woman claimed that she struck friendship with N.A. via Facebook and later they used to chat on Skype. She said after she sent her photos to the accused, the latter blackmailed her in January this year saying he would post her photos on Facebook if she did not pay him $2,000.
The Palestinian complainant said she wired him the money once but complained to the police when he blackmailed her a second time demanding more money.
Thursday’s ruling remains subject to appeal within 15 days.