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Egypt frees naked tourists as DFAT upgrades its warning

July 3, 2013 DESTINATION, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Egyptian police have released a group of 10 men and women tourists they had captured naked and detained on suspicion of making a pornographic film in the popular Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

The confusion began when a police patrol officer spotted the group on the Giftun Islands, an excursion trip from Hurghada popular with snorkellers and beachgoers. The officer noticed that members of the group were naked, according to reports.WSFH_BANNER_SQUARE

Observing that some of the group had video cameras, the officer assumed they were actors and crew in a porn movie. Police pounced and arrested the suspects, who turned out to be from Georgia bordering Russia, Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

The arrests turned out to be a big mistake.

A spokesperson for Egypt’s tourism minister later told Russia’s RIANovosti news site: “These tourists were diving and shooting the beautiful aquatic flora and fauna. The security officer had wrongly assessed the situation due to his inexperience.”

The suspects were released after Egypt’s tourist police found “nothing illegal” in the recordings.

Georgia’s Rustavi 2 television reported later that the group consisted of participants in a reality TV show in which women compete for the title of top model. The report said a lawsuit over the arrest was being prepared.

The incident, while peculiar, is relatively normal in tourism terms compared to the chaos raging elsewhere in Egypt. Cairo and other cities are in the throes of massive public demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi. The country cannot afford to turn away tourists, even naked ones, but tourists are turning away regardless.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) upgraded its travel advisory on Egypt  yesterday and now advises Australians to reconsider their need to travel to the country “due ongoing civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack”.

Many other countries are warning their citizens in similar terms.

Tourism to Egypt has been hard hit, with would-be visitors staying away in their thousands until the tumult subsides.

Reports yesterday that a female Dutch journalist was gang-raped in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square will not help.

Written by : Peter Needham

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