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Saqqara Photo Shoot Model Salma El Shimy Released on Bail

December 1, 2020
Egypt’s Public Prosecutor

The South Giza prosecution office issued an order hours ago to release Egyptian model Salma El Shimy and photographer Hossam Mohamed, Youm7 reports. According to local media, bail has been set at EGP 1,000 for each of the detainees, who face charges of shooting at the Saqqara Necropolis without a photography permit, Al Ahram reports. 

The two were arrested and interrogated after photos of Shimy posing at the archeological site went viral, stirring controversy among social media users, with some decrying her appearance and Ancient Egyptian-themed dress as revealing. 

The two were reported by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, which issued a statement on Facebook, calling the photos “inappropriate,” adding that the government agency is “keen on preserving archaeological sites and that anyone who shows negligence when it comes to antiquities or our unique Egyptian civilization will be punished.” 

Sources told BBC that Shimy testified that she and Mohamed had a prior arrangement with personnel members at the site who allowed them to conduct the shoot there. The social media model added that she and the photographer paid said personnel members EGP 1,500. According to Al Ahram, she also stated that some of the site’s attendants were present at the shoot and that she and Mohamed fully cooperated with them.   

The decision was met with uproar from social media users who were quick to point out a pattern of disproportionately targeting women by Egyptian authorities. Activists launched a hashtag campaign to show their solidarity with Shimy, comparing her arrest to the mass arrests of women Tik Tokers, which took place earlier this year.  

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