Malaysia releases Australians who disrespected flag

9 Australians arrested for stripping to underwear bearing Malaysian flag released after being detained for 4 days

Malaysia releases Australians who disrespected flag

World Bulletin / News Desk

A Malaysian court has released nine Australians who were detained by authorities four days ago for insulting behavior after they stripped at a Formula 1 race to reveal underwear decorated with the Malaysian flag.

The Sepang Session Court released the nine Thursday -- among them an Australian government political adviser -- after they pleaded guilty and apologized for their behavior.

Justice Harith Sham Mohamed Yasin invoked Section 173 (A) of the Criminal Procedure Code to not mete out any punishment despite the men also pleading to charges of causing a public nuisance.

On Sunday, the nine, aged 25-29 years old, and in full view in full view of thousands of spectators at the Sepang racetrack, stripped to Malaysian flag swimsuits emblazoned with the words "budgy smuggler" across the back after countryman Daniel Ricciardo won the race.

"Budgy smuggler" is an Australian colloquial term for tight-fitting men's swimwear.

Video footage then showed the men drinking beer from their shoes.

Before releasing the nine on Thursday, Judge Yasin issued a stern warning to all foreigners in Malaysia to respect the majority Muslim country's national symbols, customs and sensitivities.

"What you have done was totally inappropriate and you have provoked the sensitivity of Malaysians," he said.

"The elements in the flag are a symbol of sovereignty and official religion of the country... all of you must consider that Malaysia has a different culture to yours," the judge stressed, while the nine nodded politely from the dock.

The nine -- aged between 25 and 29 years old -- had pleaded guilty to causing public nuisance under the Penal Code, which carries a fine of RM400 ($96.72).

Sepang International Circuit (SIC) Chief Executive Datuk Razlan Razali, the race host, stressed Tuesday that the men must be reprimanded for disrespecting the country's national identity.

"This shows how disrespectful they are towards the sensitivity of Malaysians. They should be punished. SIC fully condemns actions such as these," he told Anadolu Agency via text message.

He earlier told the New Straits Times that the men deserved to be locked up.

"This is stupid behavior from foreigners who have no sense of cultural sensitivity and respect," he said.

"It embarrasses their own country as well -- it gives Australians a bad name." 

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Tuesday that one of the nine was Jack Walker, adviser to Australian Defense Industry Minister Chris Pyne. 


Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Ekim 2016, 11:22