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Is Kurdistan protecting young from on-line predators

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Is Kurdistan protecting young from on-line predators

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:46 pm

Is Kurdistan doing enough to protect young people from on-line predators
by Triska Sherzad

Officials are encouraging better social awareness programs for young people in the Kurdistan Region, after increased reports of women being blackmailed by men through photo sharing via the internet.

“I met someone on Facebook, and this led to a love relationship between us. The relationship continued for a year. Then my family became aware of this too. One year after, I realized the man had lied to me.”

“I lost one year of school because of this man. I was barred from using a cell phone, social networks and even going out,” Sima lamented.

The case of Sima and those of many other people alerted the public prosecutor.

A member of the public prosecutor’s office sent the head prosecutor letter No. 107 on September 10, entitled ‘The reckless youth.’

The letter read: “A letter should be sent to the ministry of culture by the justice ministry to inform the media to present good programs and advice for the youth” in order to avoid misusing social networks.

It added: “Some youth don’t sleep until far into the night, or till morning, wandering through alleys and on streets. This has led to many incidents of murder, injury, suicide, and self-immolation. And this has destroyed the social structure.”

Data from the Directorate of Countering Violence Committed Against Women shows that lawsuits filed by women have been increasing year-by-year. Some of these lawsuits are related to misuse of social networks. Some men blackmail the women they meet online through the photos and videos.

Sara, 17, has a similar story as Sima.

“I had just created a Facebook account and I wasn’t familiar with it. I accepted the first friend request that I received from a man. We spoke for some time. Then he told me he loved me and asked me for photos. He said he would protect me dearly. And I sent him photos,” Sara said, using a pseudonym.

Their relationship had only lasted for six months. They had broken up, but the man had contacted Sara a month later.

“He sent me a message in which he had demanded that I do the things he wanted me to do or he would publish my photos,” Sara said. “I didn’t believe him. He then created a Facebook in my name, in which he published my photos. He threatened me by releasing more photos if I didn’t pay him money and send him phone credit.

I was forced to send him money and phone credit for a month.

“The problem was later solved through the brother of one of my friends. One year has now passed, but I am still afraid that he might still be in possession of my photos and might publish them again.”

According to statistics produced by the public prosecutor’s office, 6,285 lawsuits were filed regarding communication tools in the past four years — 5,147 people were revealed and punished, 1,138 lawsuits remain outstanding.

After three months, the public prosecutor sent the letter numbered 6R 738 on December 17 to the KRG’s culture ministry, asking them to inform media outlets to warn Kurdistan youth about the misuse of communication tools.

Dilshad Fayez Abdullah, spokesperson for the Office of the Public Prosecutor, told Rudaw: “The issuance of this letter was very important. The ministry of culture should pay particular attention to this subject because most social problems brought to court are due to misuse of communication tools and social networks.”

The Kurdistan parliament has a law regarding the misuse of communication devices:

“Any person will be imprisoned for a minimum of six months and a maximum of five years if he/she is found using cellphone or communication tools, the internet, electronic posts in an attempt to threaten or make accusations, swear, or disseminating false information which creates fear, or reveals photos, or publishes text messages which are incompatible with public order, or takes photos and publishes them without permission.

“The person will also be fined by a minimum of 1 million dinars [about $850] and a maximum of 5 million dinars. Or the person will face one of these two punishments.”
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Is Kurdistan protecting young from on-line predators



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