FIA arrests father-son duo in Peshawar for sexually extorting minor girl in US

Published September 23, 2021
The Federal Investigation Agency said the suspect "admitted that he used the victim's explicit picture to blackmail her". — AFP/File
The Federal Investigation Agency said the suspect "admitted that he used the victim's explicit picture to blackmail her". — AFP/File

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested a father-son duo in Peshawar late on Wednesday night for allegedly "abusing and sexually extorting" a minor girl in the United States after illegally accessing her Snapchat account, deputy director of the agency's Cybercrime Wing, Tahir Khan, said.

However, the father was later released after his son "admitted to the crime," Khan added.

According to a first information report (FIR) registered by the FIA in Peshawar, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the inquiry was initiated after the agency received information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the US that a minor female, living in Reston in the US state of Virginia, was a victim of sextortion by a suspect living in Peshawar's Hayatabad area.

The FIR stated that the victim's Snapchat account was "taken over by an unknown subject" on June 1. The suspect locked the victim out of her account and threatened to release her nude photo if she did not "chat on the web with the subject and produce child pornography".

The suspect communicated with the victim using an Instagram account, it added.

According to the FIR, the victim, as well as law enforcement agencies, tried to contact Snapchat to get the account deactivated but the officials of the social media app were unresponsive. In the meantime, the suspect sent the minor victim's nude photo to her contacts on Snapchat via direct messaging.

Following an administrative subpoena, Facebook provided information related to the Instagram account the suspect was using to the FBI, which then forwarded it to the FIA in its communiqué.

The FIA initiated an inquiry based on the FBI's communiqué, the FIR stated. The investigation agency obtained a search and seize warrant and conducted a raid on the suspect's home, arresting a father-son duo and seizing their mobile phones.

According to the FIR, the father said that although the mobile number was registered in his name, it was used by his son. His statement was "ratified and accepted" by his son, following which the father was released on a bail bond.

"The accused was interrogated and admitted that he had got illegal access to the minor victim's Snapchat account and later found her nude picture. He further admitted that he used the explicit picture to blackmail her and require her to 'do more'," the FIR stated.

It added that a few pictures of the minor were also found in the suspect's phone.

"There [is] ample evidence available which rightly connects the accused to the offence," it said, adding that further investigation would continue.

The FIR was registered under Section 3 (unauthorised access to information system or data), Section 4 (unauthorised copy of transmission of data), Section 21 (offences against modesty of a natural person or minor) and Section 22 (child pornography) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, and Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

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