Egypt’s singer Sherine sentenced to prison over a joke

Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can get you sent to prison.

Famed Egyptian singer Sherine learned that the hard way.

In a video that circulated online, a fan asked the was asked to perform “Mashrebtesh Men Nilha” or, “Have you Drunk from the Nile?” She answered the request by saying “drinking from the Nile will get me schistosomiasis.” The singer continued, joking that fans should “drink Evian instead.”

For those not up on their historical Egyptian diseases, schistosomiasis is caused by a parasitic worm and was once prevalent in the area, even showing up in millennia old mummies. Though not entirely eradicated, instances of the disease have been reduced greatly.

In response to the video, a court in Cairo has charged the singer with spreading false news. She was ordered to pay 5,000 Egyptian pounds for bail and faces an additional fine of 10,000 pounds. Though Sherine is currently free (and will remain so until the case is concluded), her punishment could be as much as six months in jail.

Sherine’s is not an isolated case.

Singer Laila Amer was taken to court over a video showing her “dancing and making suggestive gestures.” Amer, the director of the video, and her male co-star in the video are all facing potential jail time.

Additionally, singer Shyma was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of “inciting debauchery and publishing an indecent film.” The charges stem from a music video in which she suggestively ate a banana while scantily clad. She appealed the decision and received a decreased sentence but still faces one year of incarceration.

Defendants in all three cases maintain their innocence.