Rabat – A little-known Egyptian singer named Shaimaa Ahmed was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday for “inciting debauchery” in a music video showing her suggestively eating bananas and tacos.
Ahmed, better known for her stage name Shyma, was convicted by an Egyptian court to two years and prison and a USD 560 fine, for her provocative behavior in the video for her song, “I Have Issues.”
In front of a class of adult men, Shyma dances in her underwear, pouring milk over bananas, and licking an apple and the frosting of a chocolate cake.
The music video’s director, Mohamed Gamal, was also sentenced to two years in prison in absentia.
Soon after it came out, the video, which attracted more than 1 million viewers in a few days, created controversy in the Egyptian social media scene.
Shyma, 25, an Arab Idol competitor originally from Tanta, in northern Egypt, appeared at court on Tuesday wearing a niqab covering her face. She was seen reading the Quran while waiting for the sentence to be issued.
— Ahmed Tharwat, ???? (@ahmediaTV) December 12, 2017
“The Singer Shyma presents a lesson in depravity to youth,” Egyptian newspaper Youm 7 wrote in an article.
The Independent reported that Marwan Younis, a well-known blogger, posted a video on Facebook urging his followers to report the singer’s page, which was successfully taken down.
Facing widespread condemnation, 25-year-old Shyma, a former Arab Idol contestant from Tanta, northern Egypt, apologised, but that didn’t stop the police from arresting her.
Before her Facebook page was taken down, she wrote, “I didn’t imagine all this would happen and that I would be subjected to such a strong attack from everyone.”
“As a singer, I only sung the song and I do not have any knowledge and understanding in direction and many other things.”
Prison sentence for Shyma is sad and lamentable but not unexpected; @facebook kowtowing to Islamists on the other hand is slap in the face and unforgivable.https://t.co/kt3E40n6gB pic.twitter.com/8ynY0ZxrWb
— B (@ticobas) December 12, 2017
The Telegraph reports she appeared in court wearing a niqab and was seen reading the Quran before the judge issued her sentence.
Human rights organization Amnesty International spoke out against her arrest, saying that “the right to express ourselves freely is central to living in an open and fair society.”
Sentencing of #Egyptian singer #Shyma and director Mohamed Gamal is against #freedomofexpression. The right to express ourselves freely is central to living in an open and fair society.These sentences must be quashed and convictions overturned! pic.twitter.com/RZSHLugNdg
— amnestypress (@amnestypress) December 13, 2017