Three French tourists were given suspended jail sentences for taking photos showing them posing with and kissing Buddha statues in a temple in central Sri Lanka.
The three travellers were arrested in Galle, in southern Sri Lanka, after a photography laboratory saw the pictures and alerted the police. They were each given six months in prison with hard labour, but the sentence was suspended for five years meaning that they will not serve any jail time. Only a small fine was given before they were released.
It is forbidden in the predominantly Buddhist country to desecrate or mistreat any religious images or artefacts, especially those of the Buddha. Tourists are also denied entry to shrines and temples if they are not dressed appropriately. Holidaymakers are advised to be aware of religious and cultural differences before travelling to Sri Lanka.
The three were convicted under a section of the Penal Code which prohibits acts intended to insult "the religious feelings of any class of persons" in, upon, or near sacred objects or places of worship.
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