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14 people were thrown in prison for cyberbullying an influencer. Her lawyer says it shows keyboard warriors can face justice.

Magali Berdah speaks to reporters before attending a trial at a Paris courthouse on May 10, 2023.
Magali Berdah speaks to reporters before attending a trial at a Paris courthouse on May 10, 2023.BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images
  • A group of defendants were punished for cyberbullying French influencer Magali Berdah.

  • The cyberbullying campaign involved death threats and antisemitism, Berdah's lawyers said.

  • A member of her legal team said the punishments showed that keyboard warriors can't hide.

28 people have been handed potential jail sentences over the online bullying of a prominent French lifestyle and fashion influencer, marking the conclusion of what her lawyers called "the biggest cyberharassment case" in French legal history.

Magali Berdah, who has more than two million followers on Instagram, has been referred to in the French press as the "queen of influencers."

But over the last two years, she's been the subject of online abuse, spurred on by a French rapper, according to BBC News.

In a ruling in a Paris court on Tuesday, 28 defendants aged between 20 and 49 received sentences ranging from four to 18 months, some of which were suspended, according to Radio France Internationale.

Fourteen individuals received immediate custodial sentences, according to BFM TV, which reported that the defendants must also pay a total of 54,000 euros, about $58,800, in damages.

The convictions also included citizenship classes, and a two-year ban from contacting Berdah, per RFI.

The news outlet reported that David-Olivier Kaminski, part of Berdah's legal team, said it showed that keyboard warriors will face justice.

"No one is safe behind their keyboard," he said, per RFI.

In a statement on X, Berdah's legal team said the bullying campaign consisted of death threats and antisemitism, incited by a string of posts by the rapper Booba.

According to BBC News, her lawyers alleged that Berdah experienced suicidal thoughts after Booba, whose real name is Élie Yaffa, encouraged a "mob" to attack her online.

Booba has been charged with aggravated harassment, which he denies, and will be tried separately from the other defendants, the news outlet said.

For those engaged in it, cyberbullying can often feel less personal than face-to-face abuse, but its impact can be just as profound.

In an interview with BFM TV, Berdah said she felt "very relieved" by the verdict, adding that it sends a strong message to the victims of cyberbullying that justice can prevail.

In a statement provided to BI, Berdah said the severity of the sentences was "unprecedented," but that it was proportionate to the gravity of the abuse.

Berdah is herself due in court on a separate money laundering charge, BBC News reported, and her marketing company, Shauna Events, is being investigated for fraud.

Read the original article on Business Insider