Two of the seven Westerners released recently by a Cambodian court on bail returned to Canada last week.
Lawyer Frances Tibollo of Tibollo and Associates in Toronto reportedly helped to get approval for the release of seven of those arrested including two Canadian citizens Jessica Drolet age 26 and Eden Kazoleas, age 19.
Last month both Kazoleas and Drolet had been arrested for posting photos on social media that allegedly revealed them to be engaged in sexually suggestive dancing.
Lawyer Stepped In After Reading Newspaper Reports
Tibollo‘s father Michael Tibollo informed media outlets that his daughter reached out to Kazoleas’ parents after reading about their daughter in the news.
Frances flew to Cambodia shortly after and started working with the lawyers there to secure the release of the Canadians, he said. He added that she was “very familiar” with the country’s court system as well as their “culture and morals” .
Around 10 people had been arrested after police raided a commercial party event being held at a rented villa in the town of Siem Reap. Police reportedly found people dancing “pornographically” at the event which they alleged offended Cambodian standards of morality. Siem Reap is located near the famous Angkor Wat temple complex.
Those arrested included five from the United Kingdom, and one each from Norway, the Netherlands and New Zealand. If found guilty, they face up to a year in jail under Cambodian law.
Initially , the police detained almost 90 people, and there is no information on why the 10 arrested were singled out for detention and charges.
Release Secured For Seven Of Those Detained
Tibollo said Frances had worked with the prosecutor for securing the release of the girls. Frances had a local lawyer working with her as well since she is not qualified to practice there.
She and the other lawyer were able negotiate the release of the seven of the 10 of those arrested, he said. According to Tibollo the negotiations have been kept secret to protect the girls.
According to Yim Srang, a court spokesman in the Siem Reap province, the investigation into the incident has been completed and the seven have been freed . No trial date has been set so far. He further stated that three persons remain in detention but he was not aware of their names or their nationalities.
According to Tibollo the charges against the two women have been dropped.
Tibollo further noted that it was important to take the lessons from the incident and understand that “democracy and the rule of law” cannot be taken for granted.