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The New Arab Staff

Moroccan singer Dounia Batma jailed in high-profile cyber blackmail scandal

Dounia (L) and Ibtissam Batma (R) have been jailed for cyber blackmail [Twitter]

Date of publication: 30 July, 2020

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Popstar Dounia Batma and two others were sentenced to eight months in prison over their involvement in a Moroccan blackmail case known as 'Hamza mon bb'.

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Hamza mon bb
A Moroccan court on Wednesday sentenced Moroccan popstar Dounia Batma to eight months in prison over her involvement in a blackmail scandal dubbed "Hamza mon bb", local media reported.

Batma's sister, Ibtissam, received a 12-month jail sentence, and a third defendant Aicha Ayach, described as a "self-styled fashion designer", was sentenced to 18 months.

The Hamza mon bb case, named after an Instagram and Snapchat account, has gripped Morocco since it first made headlines in 2018.

Since 2016, the accounts have published indecent photos, videos, and other content belonging to various celebrities in order to blackmail them and damage their reputation. 

The Batma sisters were found guilty of fraudulently accessing personal data and disseminating people’s private conversations and pictures online without consent.

They were also convicted of sharing personal information with the intention to undermine their privacy and reputation.

Wednesday's sentencing came after hours of deliberation, following multiple postponements of the verdict.

The Batma sisters were also initially charged with fraud, however these charges were later dropped.

The pair were first arrested in December 2019, shortly after which they were released on bail and had their passports confiscated.

Read also: Twitter must relocate its Middle East office from oppressive UAE to democratic Tunisia

Security services re-arrested Ibtissam in March 2020.

Three other defendants in the case were sentenced in February to two years in prison and ordered to pay fines of 10,000 MAD ($1,070) each.

Dounia Batma rose to prominence as the runner-up on Arab Idol in 2012.

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