Justin Bieber faces arrest in Brazil after he allegedly sprayed graffiti on the wall of a heritage site in November 2013.
Bieber was charged with a ‘crime against the city order and cultural heritage’ when he spray painted the walls of the £23million Hotel Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, which is protected as a cultural heritage site.
Bieber left the country before the Brazilian authorities could alert him to the charges, and the case was suspended after the Canadian star left the country to continue his Believe tour.
However, Rio Judge Rudi Lowenkron has ruled to reopen the case as the Love Yourself singer will be returning to Rio on Wednesday to play three shows in the Brazilian capital.
In a statement, the Public Prosecution Service in Rio said:
With the news that the singer will be returning to Brazil, the Prosecution Service requested that the court issue a writ of summons in his name.
The request is so that the accused is made aware of the charges.
Prosecutors will officially notify him of the charges when he arrives in the country, where a court clerk will meet Justin Bieber at the airport and ask him to sign a document confirming the receipt of the charges.
According to Lowenkron’s order, if Bieber refuses, ‘police force’ can be used where necessary.
Witnesses saw the then 19-year-old Bieber and his entourage tag the wall of the heritage site with phrases such as, ‘Bielibers 4 life’ and ‘respect privacy’.
International law expert Tagory Figueiredo, from Figueiredo & Associates, told the Daily Mail:
If the justice system concludes the process quickly and want to make an example out of him by giving him a jail sentence, there is a possibility that this might happen.
But if he tries to evade being found by court officials, or if the judge understands that he will try to leave the country again without being notified of the case, then the judge could issue an arrest warrant for him.
Certainly, if Bieber displays any of the aggressive behaviour he has in the past, and is aggressive towards any Brazilian authority, he could be arrested for contempt immediately.
Figueiredo added: “What is for sure, Bieber will have to tread very carefully this time in Brazil.”
Defacing a building – particularly a heritage site – is a crime punishable with up to a year’s jail time in Brazil.
It’s not the first time Bieber has disobeyed the law and disrespected a culture. It probably won’t be the last.