"The digital space is not a no-go zone." Prosecutors on Tuesday asked for sentences ranging from five months in prison suspended to six months in prison, against 13 people on trial in Paris for the cyberharassment of Magali Berdah, the former "queen of influencers". "Insults, threats, spreading rumours, incitement to suicide, publication of personal data: nothing has been spared" to Ms. Berdah, stressed in her indictment before the criminal court, the deputy prosecutor, Sophie Touchais.
However, "cyberbullying does not stop on the internet, it infiltrates your life and that of your loved ones" and "can lead to suicide", she added, insisting on the serious psychological repercussions of this case for the victim, who came to tell the witness that she had been "on the verge of throwing (herself) out of the window". The magistrate also asked the court to compel all defendants to attend a citizenship course.
Such requisitions show that "we are at a turning point in the awareness of what cyberharassment is and the seriousness of its consequences," commented one of Magali Berdah's lawyers, Rachel-Flore Pardo, during a suspension of the hearing. The heaviest sentence, one year in prison, with six months suspended, was imposed on a 32-year-old man who wrote to the victim: "Too bad Hitler didn't take care of your grandparents."
Booba, not involved in this trial
In this case, "anti-Semitism and sexism acted as a booster of cyberbullying," Pardo said in court. "Nothing can justify violence, and certainly not the behaviour of the person who is the target," she added, referring to the controversies surrounding Shauna Events, the company of the former "pope" of influencers, which connects influencers and brands.
These controversies have been relayed in particular by the rapper Booba - indicted in this case but not concerned by the ongoing trial. In 2022, Booba embarked on a crusade against Magali Berdah and those he calls "influencers", whom he accuses of multiple scams to the detriment of Internet users. A total of 28 defendants are involved in this cyber prosecution. Of these, 15 are due to be tried for similar offences in two subsequent trials, in mid-December and late January.