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Jail term for ‘banana video’ singer reduced

Last month, a court in Egypt jailed Shyma to two years on charges of inciting debauchery

Image Credit: Supplied
Singer Shyma in a clip from her controversial music video.

Cairo: An Egyptian appeals court reduced a two-year jail term to one year for a pop singer, who performed in a raunchy music video that sparked an outcry in the country, legal sources said.

The ruling was issued by the Misdemeanour Appeals Court in Cairo in response to a contestation filed by singer Shyma against the two-year sentence delivered by a lower court last month.

The court on Monday upheld an order for the singer to pay a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (2,083) in the same case, the sources said.

Shyma, whose real name is Shaima Ahmad, was charged with inciting debauchery over her video entitled “I have Problems”.

In the footage, Shyma, 21, portrays a teacher in a classroom of young people. She is seen in the video dancing in underwear, while seductively eating a banana and an apple as well as scribbling suggestive words on the blackboard.

The video, which was released online in November, sparked angry debate on Egypt’s TV talk shows and prompted a series of legal complaints against her.

In reaction to the video, Egypt’s musicians union has banned Shyma from performing in the country.

In investigations, Shyma blamed the video director for her performance, according to legal sources.

“I was a tool in the hands of the director, who guided my movements and requested me to do some displays,” she was quoted as telling investigators.

The case is the latest in a clampdown on controversial performers in Egypt in recent years.

In September 2015, an Egyptian court sentenced two belly dancers to six months in prison each on charges of inciting debauchery through their performances in a video deemed racy.

Months earlier, a little-known singer was handed down a similar sentence for wearing revealing attire in a separate music video.

Conservative Egyptians have often blamed “lewd” online material for encouraging sexual harassment, which is a big problem in the country.