What to Do When in Dubai: Friend, spouse, lover threaten to post private pictures on internet

Colonel Jamal Al Jallaf, Deputy Director General, Criminal Investigations, Dubai Police and Judge Ahmed Ibrahim Saif of Dubai Courts answer questions

Internet crimes in the UAE are increasing and the UAE legal system keeps pace by continuously evaluating and evolving the laws.

Several cases have emerged, where a friend, lover or even a spouse, have used pictures to threaten or blackmail a victim.

Often victims have been very young and unsuspecting of the dangers of the internet.

The UAE has also seen males fall prey to such ‘crimes’.

Colonel Al Jallaf states that in the era of the internet, which has made the world a global village, these crimes have almost become a fait accompli.

Dubai Police Case Studies

* In one of the more bizarre cases a young man bought a second-hand telephone and found pictures and numbers of girls already loaded.

He began to send them messages asking for more private photos.

Some of those girls actually sent him pictures and he exploited them later threatening them.

The man was arrested.

* An Arab woman befriended another woman on the internet and exchanged information and photos only to discover that this friend is a man.

This person extorted the woman not only for money, but for sex as well.

The police arrested the accused.

* An Emirati girl was involved in a relationship with a young man and he proposed to her family to marry, but the girl's family rejected his request.

He began to blackmail the girl with images and messages which they exchanged during their relationship.

The man asked the girl to pay him Dh250,000 so as not to be defamed.

The police arrested the young man.

* The police received a report from a man that he was threatened by his wife after a dispute, that she would expose him as a person with physical, behavioral, and personal problems online.

They dealt with the matter and solved it amicably.

* A girl had her email hacked and her pictures stolen.

She then began to be blackmailed for sex.

The police arrested the accused.

* Internet crimes may lead to murder, as happened with young Indian employee of a shop in Dubai who killed another Indian, because the posted obscene pictures of his sister on the internet.

What to do?

Colonel Jallaf called the girls not to respond to any kind of blackmail and to contact the police immediately.

The Dubai Police has set up a special department to combat cyber-crimes and has established a special section for electronic evidence, as a branch of forensic evidence.

If you are the victim or know of any internet-related crime call the Dubai Police on: 8004888

An official source at the electronic evidence department at Dubai Police informed this website that the department is in touch with social networking companied, including Facebook, to delete data and images used in such defamation cases.
He explained that the department acts immediately upon receipt of any complaint.

Colonel Jallaf called the public to deal carefully with social networking and not to send pictures or any personal data by e-mail, or leave it on a personal computer, and not to be overconfident about trusting friends on the internet.

He says: "Most of the cases of emotional blackmail occurred as a result of the use of modern tools, such as smartphones, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

“There may even be more cases than the ones the police know about because some girls refuse to inform the police to avoid being exposed.”

He added that families are also ignorant about dealing with such problems and often come down very hard on their daughters no thinking about dealing with the problem legally, because of social considerations.

The Law

Judge Ahmed Ibrahim Saif of Dubai Courts confirmed that the Federal Penal Code No. 2 of 2006 included harsh penalties for the perpetrators of such a crime.

He states that Article 9 punishes the perpetrator of a threat and blackmail over the internet (such as the threat of publishing photographs) with imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years and a fine not more than Dh50,000, or either of them.



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