Tuesday 23 January 2018

Policeman who posted Leo Messi's passport online given one-month jail sentence

A 26-year-old policeman was sentenced to one month in prison in Dubai after posting a video of Messi's passport details on the internet

Barcelona star Lionel Messi
Barcelona star Lionel Messi

Jack De Menzes

A police officer who posted a picture of Lionel Messi’s passport on the internet has been sentenced to a month in prison after he was found guilty of breaching the footballer’s privacy.

It was reported last month that a United Arab Emirates airport officer recorded a video of himself alongside Messi’s passport after the Barcelona superstar arrived in Dubai to attend the Globe Soccer Awards, where he was receiving the Best Player of the Year gong.

The 26-year-old officer was believed to have recorded a short video on social media app Snapchat, and included the message: "This is Messi here in Dubai... what shall I do now? Burn his passport or let it go! Alas... I will let it go."

The officer has since been sentenced to a month’s imprisonment after a Dubai court ruled he had breached privacy laws after posting Messi’s details online.

Speaking to Gulf News before his sentence, the office was quoted as saying: “I waited for Messi’s arrival to take a photo with him, but his private escorts informed me that the player was tired and would not be able to take a photo.

"Thereafter I walked to the passport control’s office where I saw Messi’s passport on a desk. I grabbed the passport and opened it to the page that contained Messi’s personal details and took video images with my iPhone via Snapchat."

The officer pleaded guilty to a charge of violating Messi’s privacy, and was given a one-month prison sentence. The maximum sentence available for such a crime is a six-month prison sentence and £100,000 fine.

The officer also pleaded for leniency in the sentencing, adding: “I have no idea how it [the video] got circulated.

"I was just kidding and had never done this thing with anyone else before. I was wrong and I promise I would never repeat such a behaviour."

Independent News Service

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