A Russian tourist has begged forgiveness after offending furious locals by posing naked on a 700-year-old sacred tree in Bali.
Alina Fazleeva did naked yoga poses on a centuries-old weeping paperbark tree inside Babakan temple grounds in Tabanan regency in 2019.
Police have so far declined to charge her with a crime but have turned her case over to immigration officers who may take a dim view of someone Buddhist-Hindu devotees have branded a ‘trashy tourist’.
Fazleeva boasted on social media about her nude photoshoot, saying she ‘heard her ancestors’ voices’ while she was hugging the bark and being ‘part of an endless chain’.
The self-proclaimed yogi’s post was recently discovered by a furious local and reported to the police as the tree turned out to be sacred, with locals believing it has spiritual power and significance.
As police investigated the incident, Fazleeva went to the station ‘to cooperate’ – after returning to the tree to ‘ask its forgiveness’ first – but no official charges have so far been filed against the woman.
But some locals have wondered whether she violated draconian Indonesian pornography laws, which warrant up to 15 years imprisonment and a 2 billion rupiah fine (£110,528).
Alina Fazleeva enraged Hindu-Buddhist locals by doing naked yoga poses on a centuries-old weeping paperbark tree inside Babakan temple grounds in Tabanan regency of Bali in 2019
The naked photo that so enraged Balian locals and got Russian yoga practitioner Alina Fazleeva in hot water with Indonesian police
Tabanan Police Chief Ranefli Dian Sandra said: ‘The woman came to our headquarters last night on May 4.
‘She underwent examination and was questioned by Bali Police investigators but this will be turned over to immigration officers.’
Police Chief Ranefli added that the pictures were apparently old and around 2019 before the pandemic.
He said: ‘We have also sent a team to investigate. The pictures and videos appeared to have been captured around 2019 before the pandemic.
The area had been trimmed off now of bushes. Before, there were tall grasses in the area and was difficult to reach.’
Before turning herself to the police, Fazleeva reportedly went back to the same tree, now dressed in a white shirt and long blue pants, with a man ‘to ask for forgiveness’.
She said: ‘I apologise to all Balinese and Indonesian people, I regret my actions.
‘I’m so embarrassed, I didn’t mean to offend you in any way, I had absolutely no knowledge of this place.
‘I just prayed under a tree and went straight to the police station to explain this incident and apologise.’
Fazleeva also reportedly contacted the local Niluh Djelantik who complained about her to the police to apologise.
Niluh thanked Alina and accepted the apology, but noted that the investigations into the incident should continue.
Kurnya Wijaya, a temple caretaker, said a cleansing ceremony would have to be done ‘to clear the tree of the obscenities’ and urged the woman to shoulder the expenses.
He said: ‘We will hold a cleansing ceremony, probably within the next 20 days.
Before turning herself to the police, Alina, pictured with her husband, reportedly went back to the same tree, now dressed in a white shirt and long blue pants, with a man ‘to ask for forgiveness’
‘The ceremony would be a form of apology to the temple and clear the tree of the obscenities.
‘I hope the woman would shoulder the expenses and take responsibility. This was not the first time that our temples and sacred grounds were disrespected by tourists.’
The temple caretaker added that they would re-evaluate the temple rules and implement stricter regulations, especially for tourists.
He said: ‘This is a holy place, being looked after only by three people. If tourists could not behave themselves while inside, we will be forced to make strict rules for them.’
The investigations are ongoing and would be handled by the immigration officers and the Bali Police directorate.
No charges were filed yet for the woman, but locals believed it could fall under pornography laws.
Indonesia’s draconian pornography law describes pornography as ‘pictures, sketches, photos, writing, voice, sound, moving picture, animation, cartoons, conversation, gestures, or other communications shown in public with salacious content or sexual exploitation that violate the moral values of society’ which warrants of up to 15 years imprisonment and a 2 billion rupiah fine (£110,528).