Sherine trial begins over ‘insulting country’

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Egyptian singer jokingly told a fan that drinking from the Nile will make him sick

Cairo: An Egyptian court on Saturday started the trial of celebrated singer Sherine on charges of insulting the country and spreading false news after she suggested at a concert that drinking from the River Nile could make people sick.

Following a brief procedural session, the Abdeen Misdemeanour Court in Cairo adjourned the trial until January 30. The court also decided to refer the case to another circuit in the Cairo suburb of Al Moqatam where the singer is living, legal sources said.

Sherine, 37, did not show up for Saturday’s session, they added.

In November, the singer sparked an outcry in Egypt after a video clip surfaced online showing her being asked by a fan at a concert to sing a song of hers praising the Nile, Egypt’s main source of water.

In response, the singer mockingly says: “Drinking from the Nile will get you bilharzia. Better, you drink Evian!” — a brand of French bottled water.

The remarks prompted a lawyer to file a legal complaint against Sherine for allegedly insulting Egypt and harming the national tourism. The singer later apologised for what she called a “foolish joke”.

However, state radio and television stations stopped broadcasting Sherine’s songs.

The Egyptian musicians union, which licence entertainers in the country, banned Sherine from performing at concerts for two months, starting from November 14.

The case marks the latest prosecution of controversial performers in Egypt.

Earlier this month, an Egyptian court sentenced pop singer Shyma to two years in prison on charges of inciting debauchery for performing in a racy music video.