Machu Picchu outrage as six tourists face jail for ‘pooing in sacred temple’January 14, 2020
Six tourists are facing "at least four years" in jail each after they were accused of defecating inside a sacred temple at Machu Picchu.
The French tourist, two Brazilians, two Argentines and a Chilean were arrested after park rangers found them in a restricted area of the Temple of the Sun, a key part of the iconic site in Peru.
They are being detained and investigated by the public ministry for the alleged crime against cultural heritage,” Cusco regional police chief Wilbert Leyva told the local press.
Mr Leyva said a "fracture" had been found in a piece of stone that had "broken off a wall and caused a crack in the floor".
And the region’s cultural authorities said faeces were found in the Temple of the Sun, parts of which are off-limits to tourists for preservation reasons.
They all face "at least four years in prison" if found guilty of damaging Peru's heritage.
When the site was an Inca citadel, the Temple of the Sun would have been used to make offerings to the sun god – the civilization’s most important deity.
The arrests follow announcements from the Peruvian government that they would plant one million trees around the historic site to protect it from mud slides, which occur during heavy rainfall each winter.
President Martin Vizcarra said the pledge was “a commitment from the government, the region, the municipality and all the citizens who want to protect this world wonder”.
Measures were also recently announced to better protect three key areas of the site, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Condor and the Intihuatana Stone.
Machu Picchu is believed to date back to the 1450s and to have been used for some 80 years before being abandoned during the Spanish conquests.
According to the Foreign Office around 70,000 Brits visit Peru each year.
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