A UAE-based Egyptian man's attempt to blackmail an ex-lover went terribly wrong and landed him in court.
According to Khaleej Times, the man, who is now being tried in the case, was trying to send threats and blackmail messages to a woman he had an affair with but mistakenly sent them to a man who then reported him to Dubai police.
The incident, which dates back to December 2016, saw the defendant send several "inappropriate" videos to the Yemeni man's WhatsApp number for over a week.
"He thought I was that woman he knew"
The 27-year-old Yemeni man, who is the complainant in the case, said the defendant sent him several messages not realizing he was texting a wrong number.
"He was upset because some woman had blocked him. He said he had very important private photos and videos of the woman and her children and that he would post them online," he explained.
In a statement to prosecutors, the report filer also added that he played along with the Egyptian man in a bid to get to the bottom of the matter.
"I asked him whether he wanted money but he claimed he just wanted to upload the material online. He then sent three photos and three video clips of a woman in which she was naked or dancing," he added.
The Yemeni man then informed Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers of the incident and also set up a meeting with the defendant in order to help get him arrested. However, the latter seemed to have become suspicious and did not show up for the meeting.
Police officers eventually arrested the accused
After a while, authorities managed to identify the defendant and called him in for questioning.
During his interrogation, the man confessed he had a sexual relationship with a Omani woman who later broke up with him. He sent messages to a number, believing it to be hers but soon after realized it actually belonged to a man.
Reports issued by the general directorate of criminal evidence and criminology proved the complainant's story. The conversations between the two men and all the visual material were used as evidence in the case.
The man's trial is set to resume on May 9 and he is at risk of getting a jail sentence.
Sending videos and photos of someone without their permission is illegal in the UAE
In the UAE, a rigid cybercrime law is set in place - governing various aspects of the internet including social media posts made to Facebook and WhatsApp messages.
According to the UAE's 2012 cybercrime law, individuals can be prosecuted for sharing or posting material that slanders a person or breaches their privacy.
Material meant to harm a person's reputation or information passed about an individual without their permission is also considered illegal.
According to Gulf News, Article 21 of the law states that anyone who "uses a computer network and/or electronic information system (social media) for the invasion of privacy of another person in other than the cases allowed by the law," will be sentenced to "imprisonment of a period of at least six months and a fine not less than 150,000 dirhams ($40,836) and not in excess of 500,000 dirhams ($136,122) or either of these two penalties."