x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Photo sex blackmail case defence can use images

Lawyer fights to see images, which he says are central to his arguments.

ABU DHABI // An appeals judge today allowed a defence lawyer to see copies of "indecent" photos allegedly used to blackmail two women into sex, after prosecutors initially refused because the photos were "too private." 

MM, an Emirati from Bani Yas, was convicted on January 24 of using photos to blackmail MAS and ASB, both Emiratis from the same area, into having sex with him. The man threatened to show the "indecent" photographs to their families if they did not comply. He was sentenced by the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance to more than three years in prison.

He appealed against the verdict today, saying the sex was consensual. Raed al Awlaqi, his lawyer, asked the Court of Appeal to obtain copies of the photos, because the images were central in his defense. 

Prosecutors objected, saying they were responsible for the file and for safeguarding the honour of those questioned by them. 

But Mr al Awlaqi insisted, asking prosecutors to drop the whole case if they would not grant him the right to defend his client as he saw fit.  

Justice Abdulrahman al Ibrahimi granted his request and adjourned the case until March 22. 

MM was convicted of six charges: blackmailing the two women; consensual sex; possession of indecent photographs of the women; committing a forbidden act, threatening, minor assault and using abusive words against the women.

He was sentenced to three years in prison for illegal sex and blackmail; one month and a Dh1,000 fine for theft; Dh1,000 for committing a forbidden act; and Dh5,000 for minor assault.

Although the man was convicted of blackmailing them, the women were also found guilty of illegal sex and committing a forbidden act by staying in the man’s car alone. They were sentenced to three months in jail.

hhassan@thenational.ae