Egyptian singer and ‘The Voice’ star Sherine Abdel-Wahab sentenced to 6 months in prison for Nile River joke

Sherine Abdel-Wahab
Sherine Abdel-Wahab

Sherine Abdel-Wahab, one of Egypt’s most famous singers and the star of the Arabic version of “The Voice,” was sentenced to six months in prison after making a joke suggesting the Nile River was polluted.

A lawsuit was filed against Abdel-Wahab in November after a video captured a fan asking the singer to sing one of her popular songs, “Mashrebtesh Men Nilha,” which translates to “Have You Drunk From The Nile?”

Abdel-Wahab told the fan “drinking from the Nile will get me schistosomiasis,” referring to the common disease in Egypt that’s caused by flatworms living in freshwater.

Abdel-Wahab joked to “drink Evian instead.”

But after the video went public, the singer was banned from performing in the country due to her “unjustified mockery of our dear Egypt.” She later apologized for her “foolish joke.”

“My beloved country Egypt and sons of my country Egypt, I apologize to you with all my heart for any pain I may have caused you,” Abdel-Wahab said.

The BBC reported Abel-Wahab can appeal after being convicted of “spreading false news.”

Meanwhile, another Egyptian singer, Laila Amer, was also sentenced to prison time for inciting “debauchery and immorality” for a music video in which she plays a downtrodden, belly-dancing housewife who complains to her husband about his bossy mother. The name of the song, “Bos Omak,” is a play on words with a common Arabic profanity.

The director of the video was sentenced to six months in prison while a man who was in the video received three months in prison.

Amer was sentenced to two years in prison, and she also has the option to appeal.

Shyma, an Egyptian pop singer
Shyma, an Egyptian pop singer, was sentenced to two years in prison for promoting debauchery in a racy music video. (YouTube)

In December, another female singer named Shaimaa Ahmed, better known by her stage name Shyma, faced similar charges as Amer due to what was deemed racy content.

She was sentenced to two years in prison, which was reduced to one year on appeal. Her video showed her dancing in her underwear, and suggestively licking an apple and eating a banana before a classroom of young men.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.