Egyptian singer Shyma sent to prison for two years over 'explicit' music video of her eating a banana

Magdy Samaan
Shyma wore a niqab to court where she was seen reading the Quaran during proceedings - You Tube

An Egyptian pop singer has been sentenced to two years in prison for "inciting debauchery" after a music video showing her suggestively eating a banana was ruled to be too sexual explicit. 

Shyma was arrested shortly after releasing I have Issues, in which the she is seen dancing in underwear before appearing in front of a classroom of adult men and pouring milk over a banana before eating it, licking an apple and tasting the icing of a slice of chocolate cake.

The video attracted more than one million viewers in a few days, but also sparked controversy among conservatives for the strong sexual gesturing. 

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. 

Egypt is ranked second for internet searches for pornography, according to GoogleCredit: YouTube

The campaign against her started shortly after she released the video on her Facebook page in November. An influential blogger and presenter, Marwan Younis, posted a video on Facebook calling on his followers to report Shyma's page to the social network for its sexually explicit content. The campaign succeeded and Facebook shut down the page.

The singer also apologised in the face of an avalanche of criticism from MPs and newspapers, but it was not enough to stop police from arresting her.

Egypt's president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power in a military coup in 2013 in part by exploiting fears of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi's crackdown on personal and public freedoms.

But Mr Sisi's rule has seen a continuing of repression of freedom of expression and political liberty.

Shyma, whose full name is Shaimaa Ahmed, is the latest artist to face prosecution; in 2015, two bellydancers, Shakira and Bardis, were sentenced to six months in prison for inciting debauchery and immorality in their music videos.