Imam, student jailed for one year for adultery

They claim they got married over Skype and marriage contract is notarised in Pakistan

Gulf News

Dubai: An imam and a student, who claimed they tied the knot over Skype, have been jailed for one year each for committing adultery.

The Dubai Misdemeanour Court convicted the 39-year-old Pakistani imam and his 19-year-old compatriot of having consensual sex although they pleaded innocent and contended that a marriage official officiated over their marriage rituals on Skype.

The court disregarded the defendants’ Pakistani marriage contract which was notarised in Pakistan.

The imam was said to be in his homeland in the company of witnesses and a marriage official, who officiated over the marriage with the student on Skype while she was in Dubai.

Records said the girl’s father complained to the police, accusing the imam of raping his daughter at a date three months after that mentioned in the marriage contract.

The defendants will be deported following the completion of their one-year imprisonment, according to Sunday’s judgement.

Dubai prosecutors dismissed the charge of rape against the imam and accused him and the student of having consensual sex. The couple was referred to the Misdemeanour Court despite admitting that they were married.

“Yes, Sir, I slept with my wife. We are married based on an official marriage contract,” argued the imam when he provided the judge with a copy of the marriage contract.

Meanwhile the 39-year-old defendant’s lawyer contended that the couple married via Skype in the presence of witnesses and a marriage official on March 16.

“The official heard the girl’s consent. Their marriage is legitimate and in accordance with Pakistani laws. My client notarised the marriage contract with Pakistani authorities and the UAE Embassy before he came to Dubai. Three days later, the student signed on the contract which was also notarised here. Having got married, the defendants have the religious and legal right to sleep with each other. The charges were baseless and groundless...”

On June 18, the girl’s father complained to the police that the imam had raped his daughter, the lawyer said.

“The father hates my client and didn’t want him to marry his daughter … he believes that my client is poor and wants his properties. During prosecution questioning, the father admitted that he knew about their marriage. He maliciously claimed that his daughter was enchanted and under some sort of spell… but when police raided my client’s residence, they found papers with religious writings on them related to his job as a mosque imam,” the advocate argued.

The lawyer criticised the father for lodging the rape complaint two days after the imam travelled to Pakistan on June 16.

Sunday’s judgement remains subject to appeal within 15 days.