South Asia

Sri Lanka 'porn actors' arrested and bailed

Image caption Critics say some of those arrested in the anti-porn drive may have been forced to take part in the films

Sri Lankan police have arrested and bailed seven people accused of appearing in pornographic films.

Police said the seven had to make statements and pay a surety before being released.

They said those arrested were all suspected of featuring in locally made pornographic movies.

The faces of people accused of taking part were earlier published on the internet with a police plea for help to identify them.

"So far we have identified seven suspects out of 83," a police spokesman told the BBC.

They say that the accused are believed to have violated the country's anti-obscenity laws.

"They have been questioned and released under police surety. Investigations are still under way to identify others," a spokesman from the Police Women's and Children's Bureau said.

The suspects face up to six months in jail or a fine of 10,000 rupees ($89.75), or both, if convicted.

The suspects were allegedly identified by photos obtained by the police from the now banned local porn web sites.

Police are now probing pornographic videos that feature Sri Lankans in order to identify the people involved.

They said stern measures would be taken against individuals who posted the videos on the internet and those who produced them.

Police have also appealed to people forced to appear in pornographic films to come forward, in addition to people who appeared unwittingly.

The Sri Lankan media has reported that some of the pictures released by police were in fact from private videos released by estranged lovers, while some appeared to have been secretly shot with hidden cameras.

One woman identified as starring in the films is reported to have fled the country after being targeted by sexual predators.

The overwhelming majority of Sri Lankan newspapers have refused to publish the face shots of women, complaining that to do so would be unethical.

However local websites have posted the photos, which have also been circulated through e-mails.

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