Six tourists have been arrested and are facing a jail term for reportedly damaging stonework and defecating in Machu Picchu. The 15th century Inca citadel is one of the seven wonders of the world and is located in the eastern Cordillera of southern Peru. The six tourists were reportedly arrested on Sunday after local rangers found them in the Sun Temple area which is usually off-limits for visitors.
According to Peru's local media, the six tourists are being investigated by the public ministry for their alleged crime against cultural heritage. Cusco regional police chief Wilbert Leyva told local media that human waste was found at the temple, which is being investigated as evidence the tourists defecated on the historical site. The police said that a hole in the ground was discovered which might have been caused by a lithic element that had fallen from a wall.
According to reports, the group consisted of one tourist from France, two from Brazil and Argentina respectively, one from Chile and they were all aged between 20 and 32. The Head of the Archaeological National Park of Machu Picchu, Jose Bastante has urged the police to speed up the investigation and punish those guilty for the damage. According to Peruvian law, people guilty of damaging cultural heritage are given a sentence of four years. Bastante also announced that CCTV will be put up at the site to prevent future incidents of this nature.
This is not the first time that tourists have faced backlash, in the past, accoeding to reports, authorities have hit back at visitors who posed naked at the sacred temple. Four United States citizens were arrested in March 2014 for taking off their clothes before posing for a photo. In the same week, another incident was reported where two Canadians and two Australian tourists posed naked at the temple and were later arrested by Peruvian police.