A model and photographer have been arrested after a “sexy” photo shoot at a pyramid in Egypt.
Snapshots of Salma al-Shimi posing in a pharaoh-esque outfit were labeled “provocative and offensive” last week when they were shared on social media.
But authorities faced a backlash after the arrests, ostensibly for taking photos without permission next to Djoser’s Step Pyramid – which is 4,700 years old.
Photographer Houssam Mohammad and al-Shimi are accused of “taking pictures without permission at Saqqara Archaeological Site”, Middle East Eye Reports.
They were released on bail on Tuesday after widespread criticism of the arrests.
Al-Shimi, who has thousands of followers on Instagram, was taken into custody after the images were widely shared.
They have since been removed.
A police source said last week according to The Guardian: “A photographer has been arrested after a private shoot with dancer Salma al-Shimi in the archaeological zone.”
Furious officials reportedly labeled the photos disrespectful.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Al-Watan’s news site that anyone who “disrespects” Egyptian civilization would be punished.
In the presence of a prosecutor, the model said her intention was to promote tourism rather than offend.
And astonished Egyptians lashed out at the excuse for the arrest.
One posted on social media: “Is there really a ban on taking photos in archaeological zones, even photos that are not indecent but completely normal?”
Another wrote, “There is no law criminalizing her behavior, but the people who are meant to guard the public are using any pretext to annoy people and spread malice.”