Egyptian prominent singer Sherine Abdel Wahab has been sentenced to six months in prison for making a joke about the Nile carrying diseases during a concert held in the United Arab Emirates last year.
The trial of Sherine was held in absentia and the ruling can still be appealed.
In January 2017, one of the fans asked Sherine, 37, to sing her famous song “Have you Drunk From the Nile?”. In response, Sherine said, “No, you’d get Schistosomiasis” a disease that it’s commonly known in Egypt as bilharzia. she went on to say jokingly, “Drink Evian instead”.
The court ruling hasn’t yet been implemented pending an appeal. The court also ordered Sherine to pay EGP 5,000 pending the conclusion of the appeal and a fine of EGP 1,000, according to Ahram online.
Sherine’s song entails that whoever drinks from the River Nile will have to come back to it, a common patriotic belief among the Egyptians. Bilharzia, however, used to be a rather common disease among Egyptians in the past, but health campaigns were held all across the country and its percent today is rather insignificant, 0.2, according to the Health Ministry.
In November 2017, the Musicians Syndicate banned Sherine from performing in Egypt over what it described as “unjustified mockery”. At the time, Sherine released a lengthy statement apologizing for her comment and describing it as a ‘silly joke’. She confirmed that she didn’t mean anything negative towards her country. She further promised to be more careful with what she says in the future.