A woman in the UK has been jailed for five years for “defaming” a feminist Facebook page that criticised the treatment of transgender people in the country.
The 22-year-old was convicted of two counts of online harassment, one of which carries a maximum penalty of four years’ imprisonment.
The victim was a transgender woman who was also targeted by the Facebook page, The Feminist Facebook page said.
The Facebook page was launched in 2012 after the suicide of a transgender man and is a platform for individuals to discuss issues of transphobia, gender identity and transphobic violence.
In a statement, the group said: “We are happy to announce that the woman in custody in this case has now been released on bail pending further proceedings.
We are happy for her that she is finally free to continue with her life.”
The sentencing was the first time the woman was given a custodial sentence for an offence related to the page, which has received over 5.4 million likes.
A police spokesperson said: ‘A woman has been sentenced for sending malicious and defamatory messages to the Facebook pages ‘The Feminist Facebook’ and ‘The Transgender Liberation Front’.”‘
The Feminist’ and the ‘Trans Liberation Front’ are the Facebook accounts belonging to transgender women in the United Kingdom, the spokesperson added.
The case has drawn the attention of the Government’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which has been informed.
In an official statement, Equality and Justice Minister Angela Rayner said: ‘[The woman] has been identified by her lawyers as the person who sent the malicious and offensive messages.
The defendant is now facing the consequences of her actions, including imprisonment and fines.”
The fact that she was in possession of a laptop with a computer virus can only be explained by the fact that it was used to send malicious and abusive messages to Facebook.
The message contained threats and insults against the victim’s identity, gender and sexuality, the EHRC said.’
The perpetrator must now be subject to a sentence of at least five years imprisonment and/or a fine.’
This is a clear example of the dangers of a lack of respect for human rights online.’