KARACHI: A judicial magistrate has sentenced a man to 22-month imprisonment on charges of fraudulently obtaining and sharing objectionable pictures of a teenage student on social media to blackmail and force her into a friendship.

Abdul Khalique was found guilty of blackmailing the grade-IX student and demanding her Rs200,000 in March in Gulistan-i-Jauhar.

Judicial Magistrate (East) Mukesh Kumar Talreja pronounced his verdict reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

He also imposed a fine of Rs20,000 for committing the offence of internet spamming punishable under Section 22(1)(b)(C ) and (d) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.

Besides, the judge also ordered the convict to pay Rs100,000 compensation to the victim. On default, the convict would have to undergo an additional 60-day imprisonment.

The judge ruled that the identity of the victim/complainant and her family members had been protected in terms of Section 16(2) of the Sindh Witness Protection Act, 2014 to save them from any social harm.

During the trial, the victim deposed that she had developed a friendship with the accused. She used to share her pictures as well as talk with him on video call. The accused intentionally recorded/clicked images and videos from the video calls.

The investigating officer deposed that he recorded the statement of the victim’s aunt, who also supported the allegations of the complainant.

Later, the cybercrime cell arrested the accused and recovered his cell phone and a SIM card.

Forensic experts recovered sexually explicit images of the complaint and a further forensic analysis also found that the same objectionable pictures were shared on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instragram through a fake identity.

State prosecutor Shiraz Rajpar contended that prosecution had successfully established its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Defence counsel Munawer Dahri submitted that there were material discrepancies in the story of prosecution and accused was framed in this case falsely.

A case was registered under Sections 20 (malicious code), 21 (cyber stalking), 22 (spamming) and 24 (legal recognition of offences committed in relation to information system) of the prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 at the Cyber Crime Reporting Centre in Karachi.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2022

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