LIMA A naked model photographed using Peru's flag as a saddle while mounted on a horse will face charges that could put her in jail for up to four years for offending patriotic symbols, the country's defense minister said on Wednesday.
The suggestive shot of Leysi Suarez, whose main job is dancing for the band Alma Bella, or Beautiful Soul, was splashed on the cover of DFarandula magazine and has caused a political uproar as Peru prepares to celebrate the 187th anniversary of its independence from Spain on Monday.
"These are patriotic symbols that demand total respect, and using them improperly requires punishment," Defense Minister Antero Flores told reporters. "This is an offense."
Flores has ordered a public prosecutor to take up the case and file charges.
Suarez said it was patriotic to pose for the photo.
"I haven't committed a crime. I love Peru and show it with my body and soul," the dancer said on RPP radio.
Mario Amoretti, a well-known lawyer, said it depends in part on how Peru's red-and-white flag was used.
"It's one thing to cover your body with the flag, but quite another thing to be naked and using it as a horse's saddle," he said.
The photos were republished on the Web site of Peru's El Comercio newspaper: here
(Reporting by Marco Aquino and Terry Wade; Editing by Eric Beech)