‘Terrifying’: Canadians back on home soil after release from Cambodian jail

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Two Canadians who were jailed in Cambodia after they were accused of “dancing pornographically” say they are happy to be home in Canada.

Eden Kazoleas, 19, and Jessica Drolet, 26, were among 10 foreigners arrested after a party in Siem Reap on January 25. Seven, including Kazoleas and Drolet, have been released.

Toronto lawyer Frances Tibollo worked to help secure the women’s release.

Tibollo flew back with the women, arriving Friday evening at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

“Eden and Jessica did not participate in or encourage others to take photos or videos in the nude,” Tibollo told reporters who had gathered. She added the women were not in photos that were previously shared by the media.

Kazoleas, who is from Drayton Valley, Alta., offered a prepared statement in which she thanked her lawyers, thanked Cambodian authorities and said she did not take part in any “pornographic dancing.”

She also thanked Drolet. “As much as I wish she didn’t have to go through it, I couldn’t have done it without her,” she said.

Kazoleas said that she couldn’t go into details, but called the prison “terrifying.”

“I think the main reason it was so scary is (that) we didn’t speak the native language so we were often very confused about what was happening,” she said.

“We’re so grateful to be home,” she added.

Drolet then gave a prepared statement in which she also thanked her lawyers and Cambodian authorities, adding that she did not “intend to offend the Cambodian people.”

“Eden was my rock through it all and made things a little bit more bearable,” she added.

Drolet said travelers must to “be aware of the cultures of the countries that you’re going to. Be aware.”

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