BLACKMAIL: THREAT OF DISCLOSING INDECENT PHOTOS

Published by The Daily Star on 3rd February, 2011 (Link Abouve)

This week Your Advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the head of the chambers of a renowned law firm, namely, ‘Legal Counsel’, which has expertise mainly in commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies. Our civil and criminal law experts from reputed law chambers will provide the legal summary advice.

Query
Dear Sir, I had a long 5 years relationship with a boy and it was a very intimate one. Then after all the ups and downs of the last 5 years we both mutually decided to separate. Now he is giving me threat that he will disclose all the close moments (photos and video shoots) of us into internet and will inform all the relatives including the probable bride groom’s family of mine in future. Under his threat as he said that he will not spare me, my family is afraid and could not proceed further with any of my marriage proposals. Furthermore, he is not ready to marry me and don’t even want to do so. He said that if I involve his parents by informing them about all these he will make the situation worst. Now my question is would we (me and my family) file a General Diary (GD) to local thana or what do u suggest?

Helpless,
Dhanmondi,Dhaka

Response
Dear reader, thank you for your query. I do feel really sad to know about the unwanted sufferings that you are currently going through. It appears that your ex- boyfriend is intimidating you by way of threat of publishing your intimate photographs and videos on the web. He is also threatening you to disclose the same to your relatives including your prospective groom’s family.

I must admit that it is not really a very straightforward matter for me to address, as the theoretical solution is not the same to that in practice. From a legal point of view, you certainly have legal remedies. Firstly, as per your query you may seek assistance from the law enforcing agencies, like police and also from Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) by way of filing General Diary (GD) to the police and then further complain to the RAB. We would love to believe that the personnel from the law enforcing agencies will act fairly and professionally to help you out of the misery (and will not put you into further nuisance!) as this type of incidents are taking place more frequently in our society now a days.

Furthermore, to think in a more realistic way, you should immediately sit with him along with a mediator, who may be one of your close and common friends. You should ask him not to make public the photographs and videos. Using a common buddy is always a good way of dealing with such situations. It may not be always possible to sit with him but you should give paramount effort to make it happen as such sittings are very much useful for bringing an amicable solution. If this does not work, you should notify your parents to handle the matter. Remember that your parents are always your best friends and they are there to rescue you from the distress. They may be able to talk to the boy and even to his parents. In this type of situation, discussions involving the parents may be the most effective way as they are experienced and possess required maturity. He may then realize the gravity of his activities and may decide to act rationally.

If your boyfriend acts in the way you have described, he is likely to violate many provisions of the Penal Code of Bangladesh meaning that he has committed and is likely to further commit some crimes. Consequently, you will be able to file a criminal case against him and compel him to face the trial at court. If your allegations are proved, he is likely to face punishments that include imprisonment.

However, though you have every right to file a case, it may not always be the best solution! I understand that in our social circumstances, filing the case or even sometime involving the police may put you into further social trouble. The option of going to the court is always open, but I always prefer this only as the last resort.

Though it is now too late for you, but I must say that prevention is better than cure. So, we should not have done anything that could possibly put your reputation into serious jeopardy. Taking very intimate photos and shooting intimate videos with your boy-friend was certainly not the best thing that you could do. We have recently witnessed many such occurrences where such videos have been made public through internet and other modes of communication to the greatest misery of the other party involved. I have on previous occasions as well replied to similar problems raised in the Your Advocate column. This means that such problems are becoming acute. In the course of this writing, I particularly warn the teenagers and their parents to be alert of what they are doing. I hope that my guidance will help you to tackle this problem.

For detailed query contact: omar@legalcounselbd.com