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Egyptian Police Detaining Model for 'Objectionable’ Photoshoot at Pyramid of Djoser Causes Stir Online

The Egyptian model, who was detained for 'objectionable' photoshoot. 
(Credit: Instagram/ @salma.elshimy.officiall)

The Egyptian model, who was detained for 'objectionable' photoshoot. (Credit: Instagram/ @salma.elshimy.officiall)

The Egyptian model Salma-al-Shimi and the photographer Houssam Mohammed were later released on bail

Egyptian police detained a model and a photographer for an ‘objectionable’ photoshoot at the Pyramid of Djoser outside Cairo, Egypt. The matter quickly caused a stir online making social media users question Egyptian authorities’ action and came out in support of model and the photographer.

Model Salma-al-Shimi and photographer Houssam Mohammed were later released on bail on Tuesday evening after the public prosecutor ordered duo’s release, pending a full investigation.

Shimi along with Houssam were reportedly taken into custody on Monday after the former had posted photographs on her Instagram page from the ‘inappropriate’ shoot wearing an ancient Egyptian dress at the 4,700-year-old step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara necropolis, 30 kms south of Cairo. Soon after the post, reports came that the duo has been referred to the prosecution and model has been detained for ‘disrespect’ by wearing outfit that’s that are not as per Egypt’s ancient heritage.

However, it has caused an outrage on social media where netizens questioned the problem with the photoshoot. Shimi was also booked for breaching rules formulated by the Antiquities Ministry for the ‘inappropriate’ shoot.

AFP mentions that duo were accused of ‘ taking photos without authorization in the Saqqara archaeological site.’ Although the investigation is still going on, both the model and photographer were released on bail of 500 Egyptian pounds each.

Netizens have flooded the comments with their support for both; ‘Is there really a ban on taking photos in archaeological zones, even pictures that are not indecent but completely normal?’ asks a user. Some report that the pictures were also removed from model’s Instagram account but her official handle and fan accounts still have the photos from the shoot.

In last months, Egyptian authorities have booked a dozen social media influencers for sharing content deemed ‘offensive’ by judges. The recent incident garnered huge support for the model and the photographer as users took to the internet to express their outrage over the incident.

According to a statement on the Tourism Ministry’s Facebook page, secretary-general of Egypt Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri had sought to refer the matter to the prosecutor after he deemed the pictures “inappropriate”.

first published:December 04, 2020, 17:10 IST