Ten people were arrested and detained when police raided a commercially organized party at a rented villa. (Photo by The Canadian Press)

Cambodia frees two Canadians after arrests for ‘dancing pornographically’

TORONTO — Two Canadians are among seven Westerners released on bail by a Cambodian court after they were arrested for allegedly posting photos on social media showing them engaged in sexually suggestive dancing.

A news release issued Friday by Upstream Strategy Group said 19-year-old Eden Kazoleas and 26-year-old Jessica Drolet were returning to Canada with Toronto lawyer Frances Tibollo, who negotiated their release.

The statement said they are due to arrive at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport at about 6 p.m. ET and that a news conference will follow.

Tibollo’s father, lawyer Michael Tibollo, said the Canadians, who were imprisoned for more than a week, were in a cell with more than 45 other women.

“It was a very confined space,” Michael Tibollo said. “They barely had space to lie around or make a bed to lie on, so the conditions were not the best.”

He said they left Cambodia shortly after their release, flying to Thailand and then Philippines before returning to Canada.

Yim Srang, a court spokesman in the northwestern province of Siem Reap, said the investigation 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 nationalities.

The 10 people arrested — including five from the United Kingdom, 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 an event described as a pub crawl. Siem Reap is near the famous Angkor Wat temple complex.

Police 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.

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