A 24-year-old woman was forced to walk a New York street naked by her partner as punishment for texting another man.

Jasson Melo made his girlfriend – who was not named – walk down a street in Harlem covered by just a towel in January 2016. He then yanked the towel away and told her she had to pose for a photo naked near a rubbish bin.

Melo appeared in court on 11 December and said the punishment was part of an African custom. He told the court he arrived home after a night out to find his girlfriend sending messages. He says he heard her say "oh, how big" before snatching the phone to discover pictures of another man's penis.

The couple have a child and have since separated. Melo told the court his girlfriend has agreed to the punishment.

But according to the girlfriend, who testified in court, the act was humiliating and only occurred after two hours of beating and threats. "He grabbed my neck, and force it really hard. I was losing breath," the woman said, according to the Daily Mail.

"He was saying many things, like I'm a whore, I could kill you right now, I'm capable of anything. He said, you know what, you're gonna pay. You're gonna get naked and you're gonna go out on the street, and you're gonna pay," she said.

On the video, Melo can be heard yelling at her in Spanish, "Take off your towel and pay the price for the shame I feel after telling you how pretty you were and that I wanted to start a family with you. You're going to pay the price for being a whore. Since you're a whore, you're going to pay like a whore. Take off your towel. Cooperate bitch. She's a tart. Let's go. Let's go. Say 'hi' to the camera and say why you're doing this."

After sharing the footage, Melo even tried to profit from the video and sold merchandise labelled with quotes from the video.

Melo is facing several charges including coercion, assault and aggravated harassment. If found guilty, he faces up to seven years in jail.