Gay couple arrested in Thailand for baring bums in front of sacred temple have been released

The couple arrested in Thailand for exposing their naked buttocks in front of Bangkok’s sacred Wat Arun temple have been released, and are heading back to the United States.

Travis and Joseph Dasilva spent a week in a Thai jail for the ‘belfie’ (bum selfie), which made international headlines.

They faced the possibility of five years in prison, and a fine of up to 5,000 baht (equivalent to £115 or $154).

Wat Arun temple in Bangkok

However, the court threw out the charges, according to San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, and the couple were sent back to immigration services to be deported.

Related: Facebook is blocking this video of Thailand’s king in a crop top

A close friend of the couple said they were scared, but doing fine.

“They are in a clean but cold cell and sleeping on the floor,” he said. “They wanted me to thank everyone for their thoughts prayers and concerns.”

The two men, who are both 38, pulled the stunt for their Instagram account @traveling_butts.

The account had more than 14,000 followers, and was deleted after the incident, but has since been recreated.

They posted a picture announcing their freedom, with the caption “#travelingbutts out of jail #sorrythailand ”

They were arrested at Don Mueang airport in Bangkok after the post was spotted online.

The Buddhist country has strict rules on what is considered respectful and appropriate in accordance with their religion.

Related: Thailand begins to separate inmates as it considers opening LGBT specific prison

Much of the response has been negative towards the couple, from straight and LGBT people alike.

“You kinda people are what is wrong with society, thinking there won’t be consequences,” one commenter said.

“They give homosexuals a bad name. I’m utterly embarrassed… ” another posted.

Johnathan Hale, the publisher of San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, spoke out against the online hate.

“Reading through a few of the comments, I was embarrassed by my own community,” he said.

“There were comments which showed no concern for Travis’ and Joseph’s well-being.”