PENH, Cambodia -- A court in Cambodia has allowed the release on bail
of seven Westerners who were arrested last month for allegedly posting
photos on social media of themselves engaged in sexually suggestive
dancing, a court official said Thursday.
Srang, a court spokesman in the northwestern province of Siem Reap,
said the investigation of the case has been completed and the seven
were freed Wednesday, but no trial date has been set. He said three
other people remained in detention but he didn't know their names or
10 arrested people -- five from the United Kingdom, two from Canada,
and one each from Norway, the Netherlands and New Zealand -- were
detained when police raided a commercially organized party at a rented
villa in Siem Reap town and found people dancing at a event described
as a pub crawl. Siem Reap is near the famous Angkor Wat temple complex.
who conducted the raid originally detained almost 90 people, and it was
unclear why they singled out 10 to remain in custody and be charged.
Police said those caught in the raid had been "dancing
pornographically" and offended Cambodian standards of morality. They
face up to a year in jail if convicted.
of the detainees' lawyers, Sourng Sophea, said last week that some of
the photos posted by his clients showed them at a party, some drinking
by a swimming pool and some of the women in bikinis, but none showed
them having sex or exposing themselves. According to the law, he said,
they should be deported or have their visas cancelled, but should not
be held in pretrial detention.
a brief video made last week of the detainees, one unidentified man
apologized for any offence he might have caused. Declaring that he had
lived in Cambodia for two years, he said "I respect the culture, I help
Cambodian children, I help Cambodian families."
don't want to make any problems with Cambodia," he said. "It's just one
mistake ... I'm sorry."
by an off-camera interviewer if they wanted to go back to their own
countries, several replied "yes" while all nodded their heads.
journalist for the newspaper the Phnom Penh Post, whose website was
first to report the release, said on Twitter that the three still
detained were from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway.
Ananth Baliga did not identify them by name, but said they were
considered the organizers of the event.
Sopheaktra, another one of the group's lawyers, said he filed for bail
on Monday for the seven who were released, judging that their alleged
offences were minor.
said he had not yet decided to appeal for bail for the other three
because their cases were "a bit more complicated" and he needed more
time to consider their situation. He did not explain further, but there
has been speculation that some of the detainees would not seek bail in
the hope that would expedite their cases and not leave them trapped in
Cambodia for an extended period awaiting trial.
Read More Interesting News
Cambodia frees on bail 7 Westerners held for 'dirty dancing'