Egypt’s singer Sherine Abdel-Wahab has been banned from performing and could face a jail sentence after claiming that Egypt does not respect freedom of speech during a concert in Bahrain that prolific Egyptian litigator Samir Sabry has described as “offensive to Egypt.”
A video circulated on social media on Thursday showing Abdel-Wahab, often known by her stage name Sherine, saying during a performance: “Here I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who talks gets imprisoned.”
In response to the pop singer’s comments, the Egyptian Musicians Union, headed by prominent singer Hany Shaker, responded by banning her from performing until further notice.
It has also summoned her for questioning on Wednesday.
Sabry also filed a legal complaint against the singer, accusing her of “insulting Egypt.”
This is the third lawsuit filed by the same lawyer against Abdel-Wahab. The first was in 2016, which led to the singer being referred to trial for spreading fake news, convicted and given a fine and a suspended sentence of six months in jail.
The second was in early 2019 when she was accused once again by Sabry of insulting Egypt.
Appealing to the president
In a popular TV show hosted by Amr Adib on the Saudi pan-Arab channel MBC, the star called in to explain her latest comments.
Abdel-Wahab said that she was joking with her fans on stage and that her words has been politicised and used against her.
“I made a mistake, I know this and I am seeking the help of the Egyptian president. I call for his intervention and I am appealing to him. I feel that I was persecuted… I love Egypt and everyone knows this,” said Abdel-Wahab.
Abdel-Wahab’s lawyer Hossam Lotfy told Al-Ahram Arabic that the accusations are not based on any evidence, and that she has not yet been notified of investigators’ decision to charge her with threatening Egyptian national security.
Source: Ahram Online