Joseph and Travis Dasilva (aka. the Traveling Butts) are the San Diego gay couple recently arrested in Thailand for taking Instagram pictures of their butts exposed at Bangkok’s revered Wat Arun and Wat Pho temples. The couple may soon have their asses seriously handed to them by the Thai courts as the court considers additional religious insult and computer crime charges, ballooning their case into an international matter.
The punishments possibly facing the Traveling Butts gay couple
After their stunt, Thai police arrested the men and took them into custody. Both men confessed and were initially fined 5,000 Bhat ($153), the maximum fine allowed for the crime.
However, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News has reported that their legal situation has worsened as the Thai government wants to add serious religious insult charges and prosecution of a computer crime law prohibiting online pornography.
The Bangkok Post reports:
The offense under the computer crime act is liable to a jail term of up to five years and/or a fine of up to 100,000 Baht ($3,067). The wrongdoing under the criminal law concerning religious insults may result in a jail term of 1-7 years and/or a fine of 20,000-40,000 Baht ($613 to $1,226).
The Dasilvas were both detained at the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok and police are reportedly expanding their investigation to see whether the two men behind the traveling_butts Instagram account bared their buns at other religious sites. The courts could place the men in jail for 12 additional days while the police and courts investigate more serious charges.
The Traveling Butts may face a dire situation in court
San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez has reportedly been talking to U.S. and Thai officials to ensure that the men are treated well and to “see what awaits the men in court.”
An activist reportedly informed Murray-Ramirez that the men will face a three judge panel rather than a jury. They can hire an attorney but they may not get an court-appointed attorney. Also, Thai courts don’t often accept plea bargains which would allow the men to plead guilty to lesser charges for lighter sentences. They may not have much room for negotiation anyway as their offense has become an international incident reported widely in the press and enraging a great number of Buddhists throughout Asia.
Furthermore, the courts are typically lenient on offenders who show remorse, but that initial photos showed the men smiling and laughing after their arrest.
Murray-Ramirez says that he doesn’t see the Dasilvas case as a human rights issue but is still trying to interceded to assist the men as much as possible.