Malaysian mountain stripping: 2 Canadians, 2 others get prison time served, to be deported
Tourists could have faced up to 3 months in jail
Four Western tourists, including two Canadians, who were charged after posting naked on a Malaysian mountaintop, were sentenced today to three days in prison, but won't have to serve any more time behind bars.
The four tourists who pleaded guilty earlier Friday to committing obscene acts in a public place are:
- Lindsey Petersen, 23, and Danielle Petersen, 22, both of Saskatchewan.
- Eleanor Hawkins, 24, of Britain.
- Dylan Snel, 23. of the Netherlands.
The judge ordered their sentence to retroactively begin on June 9, the day they were arrested, the Malay Mail Online reported.
They were also fined the equivalent of $1,643, and Sky News said the four are set to be deported after it is paid.
"They were remorseful and regretted their act, and had offered a public apology during mitigation," said their lawyer Ronny Cham said.
He said they have paid their fines and expected to be released Friday. Hawkins was due to fly home on Saturday, but the lawyer couldn't say when the others would leave.
Saskatchewan MP David Anderson (Cypress Hills - Grasslands) said Friday he was relieved the Petersen siblings were on their way home.
"This has been a difficult time for the Petersen family," Anderson said in a statement. "I am pleased to learn that the case has been settled and that Lindsey and Danielle will be able to return home shortly."
Anderson also told CBC News that he was pleased with the efforts of Canadian government officials.
"Local authorities often work with our consular affairs or our consular officials in order to resolve some of these issues and in this case we've been able to do that," he said. "We're very happy about that and we will certainly welcome these young people back home again."
The four, including the Petersens, were part of a group of 10 climbers who disrobed on the mountain May 30. Malaysian authorities are still searching for the six others.
The court was told Friday the group of 10 had challenged each other to see who could remain naked the longest in the cold, the Malay Mail Online said. They ignored a plea by their mountain guide not to strip, it said.
The court was also told the women were topless while the two men were totally nude, according to lawyer Cham.
The peak, Mount Kinabalu, is on the island of Borneo and is Malaysia's highest. Many area residents consider it to be sacred.
A magnitude-5.9 earthquake on June 5 sent rocks and boulders raining down the trekking routes on the mountain, killing 18 climbers. The victims were nine Singaporeans, six Malaysians, a Filipino, a Chinese and a Japanese.
Sabah state Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan has blamed the tragedy on the foreigners for showing "disrespect to the sacred mountain" by posing naked at the peak.
He has said a special ritual will be conducted to "appease the mountain spirit."
with files from The Associated Press