Model wins Dh21,000 after revealing photos used for blackmail on social media

Pictures of the woman taken before and after cosmetic surgery were shared online a second time without her consent

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A model was awarded Dh21,000 compensation against a cosmetic surgery clinic's marketing manager who blackmailed the social media star and posted revealing images of her online.

Sharjah's Court of Appeal heard that the Moroccan model, 30 – who has more than one million followers on Instagram – had a body-enhancing procedure in a Sharjah clinic last year.

She had signed an agreement with the clinic that allowed it to temporarily use images of her for marketing purposes.

In late June, once the agreement expired, the centre's marketing manager, a 41-year-old woman, approached the model with another deal, but she declined.

Soon afterwards, the model received a message from an unknown US mobile phone number, threatening to post more revealing photos of her taken before and after the surgery, if she did not pay $7,000.

The model said she  then saw images of her posted on the marketing manager's personal Instagram and Snapchat accounts.

“The centre’s marketing manager posted them and insulted me online, claiming I have had affairs with celebrities,” the model said.

On July 5, she filed a court case against the manager, who was charged with invading the model's privacy, issuing threats and blackmail.

The marketing manager denied all charges, saying the pictures were posted with the model's written consent.

She was acquitted late last year.

On January 21, the model appealed and the Court of Appeal overturned the initial verdict, convicting the manager of blackmail.

She was also convicted of sending photos of the model to someone in the US, who used them to threaten the victim.

“This has been overlooked by the lower court and is a separate crime that is not included in the consent form signed by the plaintiff,” the court’s verdict read.

Judges fined the marketing manager Dh50,000 and ordered her to pay compensation of Dh21,000 to the model.

On Monday, the model and her lawyer told The National she wanted her case to be known so that others did not fall into the same trap.

"Although I was terrified, I knew I should not give in and I urge people to never have their pictures taken in any clinic, to avoid being blackmailed or defamed," she said.

Her lawyer said: "People need to be more aware because signing a consent form does not allow the clinic to pass on the images to a third party."

The model asked not to be named, as she did not want people to search for the photos online.

The clinic was not named in court documents.