Blackmailers jailed after suicide of 17-year-old schoolgirl that shocked Egypt
An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced five defendants to prison over the blackmail of a schoolgirl which led to her suicide, The New Arab’s Arabic Language sister service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.
The student, Bassant Khaled, committed suicide last December after she was blackmailed over personal images that were shared online in a case that shocked Egypt.
Three defendants were sentenced to 15 years in prison and the remaining two to five years for their involvement in the case.
In a final message to her mother, the teenager insisted the images were "fake", however, the trial found that intimate photos were shared by the deceased with the convicted who blackmailed Khaled.
The trial flagged the existence of criminal suspicion surrounding Khaled’s death.
Two defendants were initially arrested pending investigations last January after being accused of blackmailing the victim and posting her photographs online without her consent after she refused to enter into a relationship with them.
The prosecution said the pair 'violated the sanctity of Khaled's life' and family principles as well as values of Egyptian society.
In the same case a 16-year-old was sentenced last March to two years in jail for statutory rape and an additional three years for allegedly spreading photos and videos of the victim without her consent, AFP reported.
"After the photos went viral, Bassant was subjected to bullying by her young peers and even teachers," the family's lawyer Abdulla Abul-Magd told Al-Qahera Wal Nas satellite TV channel.
In recent years, women across Egypt have spoken out on social media about the issue of sexual harassment in the country.
Authorities have since increased penalties for sexual harassment - which is now punishable by up to five years in prison - and have also intensified efforts to combat harassment and aggressive touts at tourist sites.
The following helplines can be contacted if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts:
UK: The Samaritans
US: The Samaritans