The story of 17-year-old Basant Khaled from Kafr El Zayat village in Egypt’s Gharbia governorate, who died by suicide after she was blackmailed with photoshopped pictures online, has caused a ripple of outrage on social media
According to Al Arabiya, residents from Kafr El Zayat stated that Khaled’s blackmailer published fake photos of Basant after she refused to go out on a date with him.
Devasted, Basant left a handwritten letter to her family saying “Mom, believe me, the girl in those pictures is not me. These pictures were photoshopped. I swear! I’m a young girl, mom, and I don’t deserve all that’s happening to me. I’m suffering from depression, and I feel like I’m suffocating. I’m really tired. It’s not me, you raised me well.”
Since yesterday, a viral hashtag has been trending across multiple social media platforms, “Basant Khaled’s right must be returned.”
Although neither Egypt’s Public Prosecution nor the National Council for Women (NCW) have released a statement yet, senior lawyer and chairwoman of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, Nehad Abo El Komsan, condemned the incident and called for strict punishment to be applied on the blackmailer.
In Egypt, blackmail is punishable by law. While intrusion of privacy minor offences could result in one year in prison, the threat of blackmail increases the prison sentence to five years.