December 9: Indian pop singer Mika Singh, accused by a 17-year-old model from Brazil of sending suggestive pictures to her online and promising her a role as a model in a Bollywood film, is probably in deep trouble.
UAE laws on indecency on the internet and infringements on the safety and modesty of women are very strict. Only last week, a fine of Rs 30 lakh was imposed on a man taking a photograph of a woman without her permission. Article 21 of federal law number 5 prohibits taking photographs without tacit permission.
While it is possible that the public prosecutor might exercise leniency, the UAE seldom makes allowances for celebrities and the law takes its course.
Last week, the UAE banned 90 sites and activities on the internet and its updated federal law in 2012 has very specific penalties. Even posting on Facebook and other social platforms is open to legal action and any invasion of privacy can be grounds for a complaint.
If that Federal Act is promulgated against Mika Singh, it could be a very serious charge.
The articles read: Purposely acquiring pornographic materials that have juvenile/s involved in them shall face a jail time of a period of at least six months and a fine of AED 150,000–AED 1,000,000 (Article 18).
Mika was released on Thursday night just after 11.30 pm, reportedly after the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi made a request. Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, said on Friday evening that he was to be made available to the courts at a later date and face the public prosecutor. Reports in the local media said he would appear at 4 pm (5.30 pm IST) but today being Friday and the weekly holiday, it is unlikely that he will get a date in court. He was supposed to have left for India on Thursday night.
Mika’s best bet is to hope that the photographs he sent are not too provocative and that the complainant accepts his apology or his compensation. That would indicate the charges are reduced to harassment and not fall in the purview of obscenity. However, he will be considered very lucky if he can beat the charge after the girl proves through her passport or ID that she is a minor.
At the moment of writing, there was no indication of Mika’s case having come before the prosecutor and it is possible he will be brought to explain his side of it on Sunday. Till then, he will reportedly be in custody.