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Conflict Incident Report

ISF arrests "sextortion" suspects in Zahle

Date of incident: 
February 23, 2018
Death toll: 
Number of Injured: 
Actors/Parties Involved: 
Internal Security Forces (ISF)
Lebanese Civilians
Syrian Civilians/Refugees

The Internal Security Forces announced the arrest of two people accused of so-called sextortion, reiterating its warning against taking “inappropriate” photos to avoid being exploited online.

On Feb. 23, the agency’s Cybersecurity Unit arrested a Lebanese national identified as M.R., born in 1986, in Zahle’s Chtoura, after the office received a complaint from a woman about the suspect, according to an ISF statement.

The woman accused M.R. of defamation and alleged that he sent her messages on Facebook and WhatsApp threatening to kill her and kidnap her son.

The two were involved in a relationship that lasted about two weeks, the statement reported, during which time she sent nude photos of herself to M.R., and allowed him to film their sexual encounters.

M.R. later allegedly hacked into her Facebook account and contacted all of her male friends and sent them her nude photos. While impersonating the woman on Facebook, M.R. also “discussed sexual matters” with the men and promised to have sex with them in exchange for phone credit and recharge cards, the woman told the ISF.

When she confronted M.R., objecting to his actions, he reportedly threatened to kidnap her son and kill her if she did not cooperate.

She also alleged that he stole her phone and forced her to record a voice clip so he could get away with his crimes.

During interrogations, M.R. admitted to impersonating the woman on Facebook and contacting people offering sexual favors, the statement said.

M.R. said that when he sensed that the men he was contacting were becoming suspicious, he put them in touch with a Syrian woman, L.Aa., born in 1995, though the ISF statement did not elaborate on her role in the crime.

She was arrested and confirmed M.R.’s accounts, the statement said.

Investigations found that M.R. and L.Aa. had previously worked together to blackmail women for money.

The two suspects were referred to judiciary.

The ISF called on citizens, residents, and refugees not to hesitate to report such cases in order to reduce sexual extortion crimes.

This security incident was mapped according to the closest possible location.
Primary category: 
Secondary Category: 
Gender Based Violence [inc. sexual violence]
Classification of conflict (primary): 
Individual acts of violence
Violent incidents which do not have a specific or a known political agenda but are caused by the general proliferation of weapons, of trained and untrained soldiers or militants, by the general inefficiency of the Justice system, and past-traditions and histories of violence within society.