'dangerous situation' | 

Cyberstalker in Egypt targeting Irish women on Instagram

"At first I tried to stand up for myself... but the messages got very dark, so I quickly blocked him.”
Posed Stock Image

Posed Stock Image

Clodagh MeaneySunday World

A woman who was stalked online by a man in Egypt has said that he has targeted at least 80 other Irish women.

Contacting Lunchtime Live, on Newstalk, the victim, who identified herself as Emma said that the man contacted her on Instagram in March 2020.

After sharing photographs from a trip to Egypt on her social media feed, he commented to say that he loved to see people enjoying his country.

Emma responded to the man to thank him, but instead it “opened the floodgates” to an ongoing stalking situation.

"He then proceeded to send me direct messages where he would screenshot all my photos, screen record all my videos [and] send them back to me along with depictions of sexual acts.”

"Along with explicit messages of sexual assault of what he wanted to do to me, like rape,” she explained.

"At first I tried to stand up for myself... but the messages got very dark, so I quickly blocked him.”

Emma said that anytime she blocked him, the man then created a new social media account and message her again, the cycle repeating.

"Then he started harassing my friends, who he must have seen when my account was public,” she said.

"He then started blackmailing them to try and get my attention, and when that didn't work, he then started to do things like uploading video montages of me, putting my photos on porn websites, creating fake accounts pretending to be me - and then messaging underage girls sexual things.”

She said relatives of the young girls would message her to tell her somebody was using her pictures online.

Emma added that she came across several other women on Twitter who he was also sexually harassing.

"He would blackmail them by threatening to upload photos of their children on the dark web if they didn't buy him a plane ticket to Ireland. We all sort of grouped together to try and work out a way.”

"We went to the Gardai, the Gardai were like 'Look he's foreign, he's not in Ireland we can't do anything.’”

"We contacted the ambassador in Egypt who was outraged, he tried to do something, but the Egyptian authorities were like 'There's no Irish girl in Cairo, so we can't do anything'.”

In September 2020, Emma was offered a marketing job in Egypt, which she says she couldn't refuse and decided to move there from Dublin.

"February 2021... he found out where I lived and worked and I think that's when it really hit me how dangerous a situation I was in."

Following this, she visited the Irish embassy and an official accompanied her to the head of the Cyber Crime Unit in Cario, where she made an official report.

"They promised they would do something, and then 10 days later we heard that he'd been arrested, and a month later he started again, he'd been let go, so he's really been carrying on ever since.”

"Last week I contacted this number that I was told to contact, and basically I was told that the Egyptian government and authorities wouldn't do anything further.”

Emma says she wants to raise awareness about her story because she feels there is a gap in policy.

“Perhaps raise the question of how social media platforms, and the Government, can help Irish people when there's a situation like this.”

"There's definitely a gap in the policy and the safety".

“The Gardai and the police here are unable to do anything because he's foreign.”

"I'm not the only victim, there are at least 80 other Irish girls who have been a victim and who still are a victim because he's still doing it to this day.”

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