An Eighteen year-old student was arrested during his birthday party while taking photos with his friends as a form of celebration. Police forces accused him of “unlawfully shooting public institutions” which was visible in the background of his friends’ photo.
Ahmed Tohamy, the arrested teenager, invited his friends to the Sofitel Gezira hotel near downtown Cairo to celebrate his birthday on Wednesday. The happy occasion soon turned awry when police forces escorted Tohamy into a police truck, hence ending the party abruptly.
Younes Salah, Tohamy’s friend, said the birthday boy gathered his friends up for a photo shoot with the view of the Nile as their background.
“He wanted to upload the photos on his instagram, and of course he had to make the best use of the view which cost his party hundreds of pounds,” Salah said. The Sofitel has a remarkable view on the Nile.
Security forces accused Tohamy of shooting “public institutions” without a permit. The Ministry of Interior spokesman clarified that in the photo Tohamy was trying to shoot for his friends, both the Nile river and the Gezira Tower were clearly visible, as well as the tip of the Maspero building.
“When we asked the defendant if he was authorised to shoot such vital institutions, he failed to provide the necessary permit,” the spokesman said.
He explained that people are free to film outdoors as they please so long as they are careful not to shoot institutions they are prohibited from shooting. A clear list of prohibited institutions could not be provided.
The spokesman said that all spies operating on Egyptian soil are mainly concerned with taking photos of Egypt’s “vital public institutions” to file them to the intelligence agencies they work for. He added that the police was able to infiltrate in June an Israeli spy network which was reporting crucial information about Egypt to the Mossad.
“We were able to identify them by the number of photos they stored on their laptop for the Cairo Opera House; it immediately gave them away.”
Tohamy remained in detention despite his parents providing the cheque of the hotel bill as proof that he was throwing a birthday party. He was only let go after his friends signed a permit allowing him to film them.