A district court in Karachi on Wednesday sentenced a professor to eight-years imprisonment and imposed a fine of over Rs1 million for harassing a female teacher on the internet.
Dr Farhan Kamrani, an assistant professor at the psychology department of the University of Karachi, was found guilty of impersonating a female colleague and committing an “offence against modesty of a natural person and minor” in October 2016.
District and sessions’ judge (East) Khalid Hussain Shahani announced the verdict which was reserved earlier after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.
The judge noted that the prosecution successfully proved the charges against the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt.
The court awarded three years' imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs1 million on him for committing an offence punishable under Section 21 (offences against modesty of a natural person and minor) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.
The court also awarded a three-year prison sentence to him and imposed a fine of Rs50,000 for the offence punishable under Section 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
The court further handed down a two-year prison term and imposed a fine of Rs50,000 on him for an offence punishable under Section 500 (punishment for defamation) of the PPC.
On default, the convict would undergo collective additional imprisonment for eight months.
The accused, who was present in the court on bail, was arrested and sent to prison to serve out his sentences. However, the court extended the benefit of Section 382-B (period of detention to be considered while awarding sentence of imprisonment) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to him.
According to the prosecution, a female teacher had lodged a complaint with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) alleging that someone had posted or shared a link on the page of Greenwich University, containing pornographic pictures created by mixing her pictures and using abusive language.
The investigators sent a request to Facebook authorities requesting to share details of a fake ID created in the name of the complainant, it said, adding that the management of the social networking website responded with the required details.
The prosecution further said that the accused was traced and arrested from his house, adding that during interrogation he admitted to having created a fake Facebook ID in the name of the complainant, posting her pictures and vulgar comments.
Special public prosecutor Zakir Hussain contended that a broadband modem, a computer and a mobile phone were seized for forensic examination and evidence was recovered from these devices.
The accused denied the allegations in his statement, recorded under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and claimed innocence.
His defence counsel, Ahsanullah Khan, contended that there were many loopholes in the case of the prosecution which created doubts as the investigating officer had not produced the computer allegedly recovered from his client's possession and sent for forensic analysis.
He added that no indecent pictures of the complainant were shown, as alleged by her, therefore, the case did not fall within the ambit of Section 21 of Peca, 2016.
He added that the IO failed to produce any information sought from the Facebook management and a private internet service provider, while his extrajudicial confession before the police had no legal value.
Thus, he pleaded to the court to acquit Kamrani of the alleged false allegations.
A case was lodged under the relevant sections of Peca, 2016 and PPC at the FIA Cyber Crime Circle police station on the complaint of the female teacher on October 4, 2016.