Brothers jailed for abusing 110 children over internet

First published in News

Two brothers have been jailed for five years for using the internet to sexually abuse 110 children around the world.

Mohammed Khalaf Al Ali Alhamadi, 35, and his brother Yousef Al Ali Alhamadi, 27, targeted victims aged between 12 and 16 on social networking and instant messaging applications, often pretending to be someone the children already knew.

They would then trick victims, including 78 in the UK, into giving them their online passwords using a link, before threatening them into "engaging in sexual activities via webcam," said the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) Centre, which led the operation.

The brothers, who were arrested last December, were jailed at a court in their native Kuwait today after being convicted of blackmail relating to child sexual abuse offences.

Once the abusers were identified and arrested, Ceop worked with Kuwaiti authorities and international law enforcement partners and child protection agencies in Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Jersey, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden and the United States.

In order to identify other victims Ceop launched a media appeal in December 2011, encouraging UK victims to come forward.

A special NSPCC helpline number was set up as part of the investigation for UK youngsters to report the men.

Ceop deputy chief executive Andy Baker said: "These two individuals mistakenly thought that they could abuse children in the UK and elsewhere and not be caught for their crimes.

"Today has seen justice for their victims after a challenging investigation.

"This illustrates once again how officers from Ceop and other law enforcement agencies will go the extra mile to protect children from abuse, wherever they are in the world.

"This is also another example highlighting how law enforcement and child protection agencies around the world will work together to ensure that offenders are identified, no matter where their victims are located.

"Offenders who think they can contact, coerce and cause harm to young people via the internet without facing the consequences need to take note of this conviction.

"Everything you do online leaves a digital footprint and we will use this information to locate you and ensure you face justice for your crimes."

Ceop is now urging parents buying devices that connect to the internet for their children this Christmas to consider online safety measures.

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