Pop star jailed after she starts social media celebrity blackmail scheme

A pop star and her sister have been jailed after they were unmasked as being behind a celebrity gossip account which blackmailed other celebrities.

Dounia Batma, 28, was runner-up in the first season of Arab Idol eventually losing out to Egyptian rival Carmen Suleiman.

The Moroccan rose to fame in 2011 on the talent show and was described as having a “rare voice”.

The young singer was even signed to Saudi Platinum Records and looked set to have a promising career.

But she has since been revealed as one of the people behind a blackmail scheme which gripped a nation since news first broke in December.



Batma was arrested and charged after she was accused of being one of those behind the Instagram and Snapchat accounts in the name “Hamza mon bb”, which means “Hamza my baby” in English.

Videos had been published on the social media platforms which police said were designed to damage their reputations.

Police also found evidence she was involved with using the threat of publishing material on the accounts in order to blackmail their celebrity victims.



Pop star jailed after she starts social media celebrity blackmail scheme

Moroccan Instagram influencer Soukaina Jannah was the first to name the sisters, alleging they were directly involved in the scandalous accounts, after which they were arrested.

A court in Marrakesh in Morocco has now convicted her and her sister Ibtissam on charges of fraudulently accessing personal data and passing on private conversations and pictures online without consent in a guilty verdict announced at the end of last week.

Dounia was sentenced to eight months and her sister to a year for deliberately setting out to damage the reputations of others.

Also jailed was fashion designer Aicha Ayach who allegedly helped the pair in the scheme which has been in the headlines since the sister’s arrest in December 2019.



Pop star jailed after she starts social media celebrity blackmail scheme

Three other people accused in the same case had been sentenced earlier this year in February receiving two years in prison and being fined 10,000 MAD (800 GBP) each.

A police officer was also jailed for 10 months after leaking confidential information to fashion designer Aicha.

It is believed those charged used their connections with high society to gather information and gossip about other celebrities, which was then fed into the social media network.

Alternative charges of fraud were earlier dropped by the court.

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