Cairo: An Egyptian court has sentenced a pop singer to two years in prison on charges of inciting debauchery for her raunchy performance in a music video that has triggered an outcry in the conservative country.
The Misdemeanour Court in the Cairo quarter of Al Nuzah Tuesday also ordered singer Shyma, whose real name is Shaima Ahmad, to pay a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (Dh2,070). The court handed down similar penalties to the video director Hossam Al Sayed.
The rulings can be appealed.
The trial in the high-profile case opened on November 28 after a string of legal complaints had been filed against makers of the video entitled “I have Problems”. The entertainer pleaded not guilty at the court.
In the footage, Shyma, 21, portrays a teacher in a classroom of young people. She is seen in the video dancing in underwear, while suggestively eating a banana and an apple as well as scribbling suggestive words on the blackboard.
The video, which was released last month, sparked angry debate on Egypt’s TV talk shows and drew condemnations from some members of parliament.
“The content of the video clip is harmful to the Egyptian society,” MP Jalal Awara said at the time. “There must be a firm stance against promoters of this substandard art,” he added in media remarks.
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.
Later this month, another court is due to begin trial of celebrated singer Sherin for mockingly saying at a concert that drinking from the River Nile makes people ill.
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 attires 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.