Egyptian singer banned after claiming lack of free speech

In this Dec. 31, 2018 photo, Egyptian singer Sherine Abdel-Wahab performs during New Years' Eve, in Cairo, Egypt. Abdel-Wahab has been banned from performing in her home country after suggesting that it does not respect free speech. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Abdel Nasser)
In this Dec. 31, 2018 photo, Egyptian singer Sherine Abdel-Wahab performs during New Years' Eve, in Cairo, Egypt. Abdel-Wahab has been banned from performing in her home country after suggesting that it does not respect free speech. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Abdel Nasser)

CAIRO — An Egyptian singer has been banned from performing in her home country after suggesting that it does not respect free speech.

A video clip circulated online shows Sherine Abdel-Wahab, during a performance in Bahrain, saying: "Here I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who talks gets imprisoned."

Egypt's Musicians Union responded late Friday by barring the singer, popularly known by her first name, from performing. It also summoned her for questioning.

Samir Sabry, a pro-government lawyer with a reputation for moral vigilantism and suing celebrities, filed a complaint against the singer accusing her of "insulting Egypt and inviting suspicious rights groups to interfere in Egypt's affairs."

Last year, Sherine was sentenced to six months in prison over a similar clip from a concert in which she joked that the Nile is polluted. The sentence was suspended upon appeal. She apologized for the remark, calling it a "bad joke."

The singer, who hosts the Arabic version of "The Voice," apologized again after the latest remarks in a TV interview aired late Friday, saying she was joking.

"I am very tired. I made a mistake. I am sorry. I appeal the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who is our father. I feel that I was persecuted. I did nothing. I love Egypt," she said.

Egyptian authorities have waged an unprecedented crackdown on dissent since President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi led the military overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. The local media is dominated by pro-government outlets that attack anyone seen as criticizing the country or its leaders, and several people have been jailed or fined for violating vaguely written laws outlawing such criticism.

Thousands of people have been jailed or forced to leave the country since el-Sissi came to power, mainly Islamists but also a large number of secular activists, politicians and artists.

Must Read

Saudi financial clout over media helps in...

Oct 25, 2018

Saudi clout among Arab media gives kingdom useful tool in grappling with international outcry over...

Indian court acquits actor Salman Khan of using...

Jan 18, 2017

An Indian court has acquitted top Bollywood star Salman Khan on a charge of using unlicensed...

Transgender Nepali has her big moment on Indian...

Feb 3, 2017

It was her big moment: Anjali Lama sashayed down the catwalk, a fitted, cream dress highlighting...

AP PHOTOS: Dalai Lama turns 82, followers...

Jul 7, 2017

Thousands of Tibetans living in exile in India waved white scarves, lit incense and offered prayers...

Thin crowds greet Bollywood film after rumors set...

Jan 26, 2018

Anger had preceded the release of 'Padmaavat,' but Bollywood's latest turned out to be an opulent...

About Us

Get all the up-to-date breaking news about politics, business, entertainment, sports, lifestyles, weather, traffic, and local news in a seamless digital environment only in Morning Dispatcher.

Contact us: sales[at]morningdispatcher.com

Subscribe Now!

Quick Links

HomePress