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Hillcrest couple faces 7 years in jail for bare-butt photo in front of Thai temple

 

Wat Arun temple in Bangkok (Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego couple who posted photos of their nude back sides to more than 14,000 Instagram followers as they traveled the world remained jailed in Thailand today amid growing international attention to their arrest over the picture taken in front of a Buddhist temple in Bangkok.

Joseph and Travis Dasilva, who ran the now disabled Instagram account @TravelingButts, were reportedly arrested Tuesday night at the Bangkok international airport after they took a photo with their rear ends exposed outside Wat Arun, one of Thailand’s best known Buddhist temples.

According to the Bangkok Post, the couple faces up to seven years in jail on expected charges concerning behavior at a religious place that insults the religion, and up to five years in jail on charges for posting “pornographic” photos online.

Joseph, 38, and Travis, 36, live in Hillcrest, according to San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. The website reported that San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez, a longtime LGBT activist, has been in contact with Thai activists who warn the Dasilva’s situation is getting worse.

“Our main priority right now is to make sure that they’re treated well,” Murray-Ramirez told SDGLN. “Sadly, this has become an international incident of bad behavior; it’s made the headlines not only in Thailand but in countries where there is a majority of Buddhist population and all over the world.”

Thai activists told Murray-Ramirez that Thai culture reacts well to those who show contrition. But photos provided by Bangkok police appear to show the couple, after their arrest, smiling with police officers and while in custody.

“It’s almost as if they’ve given the court evidence to use against them,” Murray-Ramirez told SDGLN. “This has turned into a very difficult case and an international case and this does not bode well for them.”