$25,600 crowdfunded for detained Singaporean fashion photographer and friend in Abu Dhabi legal fees, netizens torn over issue
In a previous post, Alvinology.com reported on the arrest and sentencing of 37-year-old transgender woman Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim and fashion photographer, Muhammad Fadli Abdul Rahman (pictured above), 26, to one year in jail for crossdressing and indecent behaviour.
Recent developments in the story reveal that at least $25,000 have been collected in a crowdfunding effort to pay for fees that the two Singapore nationals need to resolve their legal problems.
The families had previously stated that they are unable to pay for legal fees so that a lawyer versed in UAE law could represent them in their coming appeal on September 4, 2017.
Who raised the funds?
Ms. Sha Shamsi, a makeup artist in Singapore and Randolph Tan, another fashion professional who have both known Fadli for at least six years facilitated the collection of funds to help their friend. In a report by Yahoo, their collected funds had reached $13,530 as of Thursday, August 24.
In another story from the Straits Times, Ms. Vanessa Ho, a human rights activist who lives in the same apartment complex as Fadli also set up an account to gather funds for the two Singaporeans’ legal fees.
Ms. Ho did not use any crowdfunding website or page but instead opened a bank account where people could donate. The page was created on Thursday morning, and by Friday 12pm has raised $25,600 from about 150 donors.
They have since ceased to ask for donations as their target amount has been met.
According to Ms. Ho, a lawyer can begin working on their case once funds are available. In a Facebook post detailing the court mechanics, roughly $25,000 is needed for both Nur and Fadli in upfront lawyer’s fees to start adequate representation.
Both Singaporeans’ families were overwhelmed by the support.
The two Singaporeans were arrested earlier this month one day after arriving in Abu Dhabi. They were arrested in a shopping mall’s food court for crossdressing and behaving indecently.
Nur, who identifies as a transgender woman, has not undergone gender reassignment surgery, and still has a male designation on her legal documents. Since her documents have not been changed to her preferred gender, she may later be placed in a men’s prison, according to Detained in Dubai.
No representation at first hearing
Their hearing was set last week, but the two nationals were not present during the proceedings. The two Singaporeans did not have any lawyer at the time.
The family’s current contact for legal representation in the UAE, however, said that once the fees were paid, they would be able to start working on the case, but the release of documents are completely at the court’s discretion, so nothing can be guaranteed.
Muhammad Fadli is a prominent figure in the Singaporean fashion scene
Tremendous support has come from the Singaporean fashion industry as Muhammad Fadli bin Andul Rahman is one of their own.
Fadli has been a fixture in the Singaporean fashion scene as a coveted photographer, who previously worked on Mongolia’s Next Top Model and other shows. A graduate of LASALLE College of the Arts, Yahoo has mentioned that he has worked with prominent magazines such as L’Officiel, Esquire and even high-end brand Burberry.
Family may now visit Nur and Fadli
According to the family’s contact in UAE, lawyers are now allowed to visit the two Singaporeans every Sunday. Nur and Fadli are currently being held in the Al Wathba Police Station.
Female family members up to the first degree are permitted to visit them on Mondays while male relatives are allowed on Tuesdays.
Netizens are torn
While some netizens have expressed support and even donated to the fund drive for Nur and Muhammad’s legal fees, others criticized their lifestyle and even made fun of their predicament.
Some donated a large amount to help them.
Others wondered why the two Singaporeans went to Abu Dhabi knowing the law there.
While others were harsh in their judgement.
Some netizens went so far as to call for their execution based on Islam law.
Some netizens wanted them to complete their one year in jail.
What do you think of this case? Let us know in the comments!
Header image from Fadli Rahman’s Facebook page