Egyptian fashion model quizzed over ‘indecent’ pyramid photos

Egyptian prosecutors Tuesday started investigating a fashion model after she appeared in online photos taken in a famed antiquity area and deemed indecent, legal sources said.

The woman, identified as Salma Al Shimi, provoked an outcry after she released the images showing her clad in Pharaonic outfits and posing in front of the Step Pyramid and other monuments in Giza south of Cairo.

Detractors said that the pictures had degraded the ancient Egyptian civilisation.

Archaeological authorities reported the incident to public prosecution that ordered the arrest of the woman and the photographer. A lawyer in the self-styled “Society’s Purge”, a non-governmental group, filed a legal complaint against the fashion model, accusing her of insulting the Egyptian state and mocking the ancient Egyptian civilisation.

Police investigations revealed that Al Shimi had entered the archaeological zone wearing a black cloak, accompanied by a private photographer. She had worn the pharaonic costume under the cloak.

An antiquity official called the photos “inappropriate and offensive”.

“These pictures are downright inappropriate. They insult antiquities and the ministry [of antiquities],” said Sabry Faraj, the director of the Saqqara archaeological zone in Giza. “Therefore, the matter was referred to the investigation agencies. The culprit will be punished,” he told private television DMC.

Six employees in the area will be questioned over illegally facilitating the controversial photo session, antiquity sources said without giving further details.

Egypt has recently upgraded different archaeological sites in a bid to rejuvenate its vital tourism industry.

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