Egyptian singer wins appeal over Nile joke sentence


Cairo (AFP)

Egyptian pop star Sherine has won an appeal against a six-month prison sentence for suggesting drinking from the Nile River leads to illness, judicial sources said Tuesday.

Sherine Abdel Wahab, known simply as Sherine, was convicted in February after being caught on tape joking with concert-goers that Nile water could give them parasites.

The famous singer was found guilty of a public order offence and of spreading "fake news" by a Cairo court, which ordered her release on bail while she appealed the sentence.

A video shared on social media of the United Arab Emirates concert shows a fan asking her to sing her song "Have You Ever Drunk From the Nile".

She responds that drinking from the river could cause "bilharzia", a name for the parasitic disease schistosomiasis that was once widespread in Egypt.

"Drink Evian instead," she jokes.

Sherine, who has hosted the Arabic version of singing contest The Voice, later apologised in a Facebook posting.

She was acquitted on Tuesday by the court of appeal on technical grounds, judicial sources said.

The Nile remains a sensitive subject in Egypt, with fears over the country's water supply on the rise as Ethiopia constructs a massive dam upstream.

Discussions between the two countries, along with Sudan, have reached a standstill.

Her comments were met with a strong reaction from Egypt's musicians' union, which banned the singer from performing in the country.