Three French tourists convicted in Sri Lanka for desecrating a temple by photographing themselves kissing and posing with a Buddha statue have been sentenced by magistrates to six months in jail, suspended for five years.
One of the photographs featured a woman pretending to kiss the statue on the lips, and a man imitating the pose of the Buddha, the police reported.
The images provoked a wave of condemnation as the tourists were harshly criticized for their "uncivilized behavior".
"They had not only broken Sri Lankan law, but they have also violated universally accepted norms of respecting the religious symbols of others," police spokesman Ajith Rohana told Agence France Press. "We condemn this and urge tourists not to make religious offence."
"If we had not arrested them and prosecuted them, they would have taken the pictures abroad, published them and gloated," the police spokesman added.
The magistrate fined the group 1,500 rupees ($11) each, ordered the destruction of the photos, but handed back the tourists their camera and passports.
Officers got to know about the incident after the travelers tried to get their holiday pictures printed at a photo shop. The owner of the shop immediately called the police.
In 2010, Sri Lanka prevented American rapper Akon from visiting the country over his music video which featured nearly naked women dancing in front of a Buddha statue.
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has also ordered police and customs to seize CDs of Buddha Bar chill-out music.