Four Britons facing trial on pornography charges over a raucous party in Cambodia have been granted bail.
The group were among 10 foreigners arrested two weeks ago in the tourist hot-spot of Siem Reap.
A Cambodian court granted bail to seven of the foreigners, a court spokesman said Thursday. A Briton was among the three who remained in jail.
The five Britons, two Canadians, a Norwegian, a New Zealander and a Dutch national were detained when police raided their pool bash at a private villa in the city, which flanks Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temple ruins.
Police accused the foreigners of “singing and dancing pornographically” and detained 10 out of the 77 party-goers initially rounded up in the crackdown.
The defendants, aged from 19 to 31, now face up to one year in prison after a Siem Reap court charged them with producing pornographic pictures and materials. A prosecutor accused the party organisers of circulating obscene images online to promote the event.
The defendants have denied the allegations, saying they were wearing “sexy” clothing but were not fully nude or responsible for any pornography.
On Thursday a Siem Reap court spokesman said the seven had been granted bail.
“They have been released from prison,” Yin Srang told AFP, refusing to provide more details.
Defence attorney Ouch Sopheaktra said lawyers requested bail for the seven because “they were not the organisers of the party” and were therefore more likely to be released.
Lawyers did not seek bail for the other three – a British, Dutch and Norwegian national – who rented the villa and organised the party, he added.
No date has been set for the trial.
One 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.
In a brief video made last week of the detainees, one unidentified man apologised 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.”
“I don’t want to make any problems with Cambodia,” he said. “It’s just one mistake … I’m sorry.”
Asked by an off-camera interviewer if they wanted to go back to their own countries, several replied “yes” while all nodded their heads.
The British Foreign Office said in an email on Thursday that its staff was assisting four British men who were released and one British man who remained in custody.
While Cambodia is a popular tourist hub and boasts a free-wheeling nightlife, the Buddhist country is often strict when protecting local traditions or heritage sites.
Authorities banned skimpy clothing inside the Angkor Wat complex in 2016 and have previously arrested and deported foreigners for taking racy photos among the ruins, which are considered sacred.
But the location of past violations has been inside the ancient city, not in the adjoining town of Siem Reap, a popular party destination lined with bars catering to foreign tourists.
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/09/four-britons-held-cambodia-pornographic-party-granted-bail/