Photographer admits nude pyramid video ‘the dumbest idea’

Climbing pyramids is illegal in Egypt, though that hasn’t stopped people before (File/AFP)
Updated 09 December 2018
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Photographer admits nude pyramid video ‘the dumbest idea’

  • Photographer says he did not mean to be disrespectful
  • Egyptian Minister of Antiquities dubs it a "violation of public morality"

DUBAI: A video that shows a Danish couple climbing the Pyramid of Khufu before posing naked at the top has gone viral, sparking outrage from both the Egyptian government and the general public.

The video, posted on YouTube last Wednesday, was shot by Danish photographer Andreas Hvid, who is known on social media for posting pictures from various high vantage points around the world. Known as “rooftopping,” the process involves climbing cranes, chimneys or high-rise buildings unsecured and usually illegally. Hvid has been doing it for years and has more than 11,000 followers on Instagram.

Speaking to Ekstra Bladet, a Danish tabloid, Hvid said he had wanted to do a pyramid shoot for some time. This was Hvid’s second attempt to climb the pyramid following a failed attempt, when he and a friend were caught by guards and taken to the local police station. They were released with a warning.

After sneaking on to the plateau just before closing, he and his model friend hid in a temple and waited for the level of activity on the plateau to fall. “We lay and froze for about an hour-and-a-half while we could hear cars driving around,” he said.

The actual climb took about 25 minutes. “A euphoric feeling struck us both when we reached the top,” Hvid said. “It was the culmination of a lot of work and many chances taken.”

As for the subject matter of the video, he said he did not mean for it to come across as disrespectful, but rather as a critique on the behavior of privileged Western youths. “It was the dumbest idea I could think of. Western, privileged youth at its worst. But I don’t make fun of religious symbols, which the pyramids haven’t been in 4,500 years.”

Speaking to Al-Ahram, Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anany called it a violation of public morality and said he had filed a memo with the prosecutor-general on Friday. Al-Anany promised that the incident and the video would be investigated by the attorney-general, although it is unclear what sort of action could be taken against the couple.

Climbing pyramids is illegal in Egypt, though that hasn’t stopped people before. In 2016, German teen Andrej Ciesielski also climbed the Pyramid of Khufu, causing Egypt to send an official notice to the German embassy banning him from the country for life.

As for Hvid, he has since moved to an unspecified location in Asia. “I will stay out of Egypt in the future, as I probably risk being sentenced if I go back,” he told Ekstra Bladet. “It was the desire to climb the pyramid that brought me here, so I feel I've gotten what I wanted.”


El Salvador court frees woman jailed for delivering stillborn

Evelyn Hernandez (C) is surrounded by activists after being released from the women's Readaptation Center, in Ilopango, El Salvador, on February 9, 2019, where she was serving a 30-year-sentence for aggravated homicide after her baby died at birth. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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El Salvador court frees woman jailed for delivering stillborn

  • Even women who abort due to birth defects or health complications risk jail sentences of up to 40 years in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR: A Salvadoran court on Friday freed Evelyn Hernandez, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison after she gave birth to a stillborn baby at home.
After serving 33 months for aggravated homicide, 20-year-old Hernandez smiled as she was reunited with her parents and a brother in the capital San Salvador.
The court in Cojutepeque, east of the capital, ruled that she will be retried but while living at home. A hearing has been set for April 4, with a new judge, her lawyer Angelica Rivas said.
El Salvador has an extremely strict abortion ban. Hernandez gave birth in the makeshift bathroom of her home in the central Cuscatlan region. She was 18 years old and eight months pregnant.
She said her son was stillborn but was convicted of murdering him, abortion rights group ACDATEE said.
ACDATEE cited a pathologist’s report which it said indicated the baby had choked to death while still in the womb.
Prosecutors argued Hernandez was culpable for not having sought prenatal care, ACDATEE said.
The group said Hernandez had not known she was pregnant and gave birth on the toilet after feeling abdominal pains. She got pregnant as the result of a rape, which she did not report out of fear because her family had been threatened.
Even women who abort due to birth defects or health complications risk jail sentences of up to 40 years in El Salvador. Campaigners say some have been jailed after suffering miscarriages.
The country’s abortion law made international headlines in 2013 when a sick woman was forbidden from aborting a fetus which developed without a brain.
Under a ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Salvadoran state eventually authorized her to undergo a cesarean section. The baby died shortly after the procedure.