Egypt detains photographer after Pyramids dancer shoot

CAIRO (AFP) – Egyptian police detained a photographer for disrespect after he shot images of a dancer in ancient costume at the Pyramid of Djoser outside Cairo, a security source confirmed.

Rumours swirled on social media for days that the model Salma al-Shimi had been arrested after Monday’s shoot at the Saqqara necropolis, 30 kilometres south of Cairo, but the source said police detained the photographer on Monday.

“A photographer has been arrested after a private shoot with dancer Salma al-Shimi in the archaeological zone,” the source said, adding that his case had been referred to the courts. Late last week, Shimi, who boasts thousands of followers on Instagram, posted photographs from the shoot of her in ancient Egyptian dress at the foot of the 4,700-year-old Step Pyramid of Djoser.

Rumours quickly spread that she had been detained for wearing outfits that betrayed Egypt’s ancient heritage and broke the rules set by the Antiquities Ministry for photo shoots. Social media users who had seen the photographs expressed disbelief and outrage.

On Monday, the pictures were quietly removed from the model’s Instagram account.

In recent months, Egyptian courts handed down jail sentences against a dozen social media influencers for sharing content judges deemed offensive.