Egypt’s Criminal Court in Tanta sentenced three men on Tuesday, 10 May to 15 years in jail, and two others to five years in jail for blackmailing an Egyptian girl, Basant Khaled, with explicit images.
The five men are charged with several crimes, including blackmailing a minor with explicit images, invasion of privacy, cyber extortion, human trafficking by publishing the explicit images with the intent of forcing her to engage in ‘immoral acts’, sexual assault, and force or threat of force by threatening to publish the explicit images.
Early in January, news broke out that 17-year-old Basant Khaled from the village of Kafr El Zayat died by suicide after she was blackmailed with photoshopped pictures online. Village residents from stated that Khaled’s blackmailer published fabricated explicit photos of Basant after she refused their sexual advances.
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.”
Following mass outrage on social media, two men – who fled their homes for fear of arrest after the suicide note’s viral notoriety – were arrested.
The International Fatwa Center of al-Azhar condemned the actions of these men as “malicious [and] inhumane.”
In mid-August 2018, Egypt enacted a new anti-cybercrime law that regulates internet activities for the first time. It covers a range of crimes, such as offenses against confidentiality, the integrity and availability of computer data, computer-related offenses, offenses related to infringements of privacy, and content-related offenses, such as immoral content, as well as such threatening national security.