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Photographer and model arrested for offensive pyramid shoot

An Egyptian Instagram star and her photographer are in hot water over a saucy shoot in front of a pyramid.

Salma al-Shimi, who has thousands of followers on Instagram, and shutterbug Houssam Mohammad were arrested Monday following the shoot at the Saqqara necropolis, 20 miles south of Cairo, Agence France-Presse reported.

The busty model had posted images of herself in revealing ancient Egyptian garb with pharaoh-like accessories last week near the 4,700-year-old Step Pyramid of Djoser.

A judicial source told the outlet that the pair — who were released on bail Tuesday on $32 each — are being investigated for “taking photos without authorization in the Saqqara archaeological site.” 

The matter was referred to prosecutors by the secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, who deemed the images “inappropriate.”

“All those found guilty of harming archaeological sites and Egyptian civilization will be punished,” Mostafa Waziri said in a statement posted on Facebook.

State news outlet Akhbar el-Youm reported that Shimi had appeared before a public prosecutor and argued that her goal had been to promote tourism rather than offend Egypt, the Middle East Eye reported.

She reportedly said she had been unaware that photography on archaeological sites without a permit was forbidden.

Mohammad told Youm7 TV before he was detained that Shimi entered the site wearing an abaya — a loose-fitting robe — as requested by staff, then changed when they arrived on location.

He claimed that six employees came to watch the 15-minute shoot at the ancient burial ground without requesting that they stop.

Mohammad also expressed surprise at the online backlash, saying that “if a thin girl was in Salma’s place, the issue would be very normal,” the outlet reported.

Not everyone was upset by the shoot.

“Is there really a ban on taking photographs in archaeological zones, even pictures that are not indecent but completely normal?” one social media user wrote, according to the Guardian.

The arrests come amid a crackdown by Egyptian authorities on social media influencers for sharing content that judges deemed offensive.

In July, an Egyptian court sentenced five young women to two years in prison each for posting “indecent videos” on TikTok.

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