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Complaint about Free Speech Gets Egyptian Singer Banned at Home

Egypt’s Musicians’ Union has banned local singer Sherine Abdel-Wahab from performing in the country after a video showed her complaining about a lack of free speech. The video, which spread on social media, shows Abdel-Wahab during a performance in Bahrain where she states, “Here, I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who speaks is imprisoned.” The union, which issued the ban on Friday, also summoned the singer for a hearing. Abdel-Wahab, popularly known solely by her first name, successfully appealed a six-month jail sentence she was given by an Egyptian court last year for complaining during another concert that the Nile River was polluted. She reportedly apologized for the remarks heard on the Bahrain video, saying: “I made a mistake. I am sorry. I appeal to the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who is our father…. I love Egypt.” Abdel-Wahab co-hosts an Arabic version of The Voice, a popular televised singing contest.

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