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Hollywood Actor Apologizes for 'Obscene' Kiss in India


Hollywood movie star Richard Gere apologized Friday for upsetting people when he kissed Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty at a recent AIDS awareness event.

Gere issued a statement, saying it was never his intention to offend the people he called his "friends in India." He also offered his sincere apologies.

Gere's message comes one day after a magistrate court in the northern city of Jaipur ordered his arrest, in response to a complaint by a local citizen.

The complaint accuses Gere of violating India's strict public obscenity laws. Shetty also has been summoned to appear in court May 5.

Gere was in New Delhi promoting AIDS awareness when he hugged and repeatedly kissed Shetty on the cheek. The incident sparked outrage from some conservative groups in India.

Legal experts in India have ridiculed the arrest warrant.

Soli Sorabjee, a former attorney general of India, said - "the order is unsustainable and makes us look ridiculous."

He told the Times of India newspaper that "judicial magistrates should not behave like Taleban moral police."

Under Indian law, a person convicted of public obscenity faces up to three months in prison, a fine or both.

Richard Gere frequently visits India to promote health issues and the cause of Tibetan exiles.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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