What is the risk of throwing away, like Rima Hassan, the 06 of her cyberstalker?

What is the risk of throwing away, like Rima Hassan, the 06 of her cyberstalker?
What is the risk of throwing away, like Rima Hassan, the 06 of her cyberstalker?

We already knew that social networks were not the world of Care Bears with their daily torrent of hatred and insults. Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, it has gotten even worse. On both camps, activists have been engaged in virtual guerrilla warfare for months, calling online for the worst atrocities with death threats or advocating terrorism.

Candidate on the list of France rebellious in the European elections, pro-Palestinian activist Rima Hassan, very active on the networks, indicated on Tuesday on her X account that she was the victim of a cyberharassment campaign. “Today, around thirty Israeli and French numbers carried out crass and abject harassment,” she wrote.

Rape threats and racist insults

In one of her messages, seen nearly four million times, the rebellious candidate even posts a screenshot of a private message received on WhatsApp in which a stranger spews horrors at her, threatening to rape her and uttering racist insults. “This is at least the 200th message that I have received and these messages arrive in waves with a whole group behind them which is organized and acts to harass,” continues the candidate. Every harasser should expect to be reported.”

A threat that Rima Hassan put into action by publishing the mobile number of one of her cyberstalkers as well as his profile photo on WhatsApp. If the rebellious candidate files a complaint, the author of the hateful message is of course exposed to sanctions for public insult, even if the message is private, up to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros in the event of incitement to hatred or racial discrimination, according to article 24 on freedom of the press.

A violation of privacy

But by publicly disclosing the telephone number of her cyberstalker, Rima Hassan also exposes herself to sanctions if the latter were to turn against her. “By publishing this person’s telephone number, they commit an offense because it is a violation of privacy,” underlines Alexandre Lazarègue, lawyer specializing in digital law. In fact, few perpetrators who are victims of “doxing”, the practice of revealing a person’s identity on the Internet, take legal action.

But if this were the case, the LFI candidate could then be prosecuted for having “thrown this individual to pasture” by publicly denouncing his hateful messages but above all by revealing his telephone number. A violation of privacy which, according to article 226-1 of the Penal Code, can be punished by one year of imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros.

“An irresponsible and dangerous attitude”

And that’s not all. Because if the author of the hateful message were in turn to be harassed, or even physically attacked, Rima Hassan could then be prosecuted for complicity by having contributed, via her revelations on the identity of the person, “to the preparation, the realization or the commission of a crime or misdemeanor”, ​​as indicated in article 127-7 of the Penal Code. The sanction would then be much heavier because “the accomplice of an offense incurs the same penalty as the main perpetrator”, recalls Alexandre Lazarègue.

“She will always be able to say that she only wanted to denounce the public insults of which she was the victim but by acting in this way, she makes private revenge possible,” believes the lawyer, denouncing the “irresponsible and dangerous attitude” of the candidate. “This is not a way to deliver justice because private vengeance is violence and chaos,” he assures.

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