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Freemuse calls for the release of Egyptian singer

18 January 2018
On 2 January 2018, Egyptian authorities arrested female singer Laila Amer on charges of “violating public decency” and “inciting debauchery” in a video for her song “Bos Omak” (Look at your Mother)—a pun on an Arabic profanity— in which the singer belly dances and makes “provocative gestures”.
Photo: Screenshot from Laila Amer’s “Bos Omak” video on YouTube

 

UPDATE: Egyptian singer acquitted on appeal

A Cairo court acquitted singer Laila Amer, overturning her conviction and cancelling her two-year jail sentence for “inciting debauchery”, Arab News reported in March 2018.

On 2 January 2018, Egyptian authorities arrested female singer Laila Amer on charges of “violating public decency” and “inciting debauchery” in a video for her song “Bos Omak” (Look at your Mother)—a pun on an Arabic profanity— in which the singer belly dances and makes “provocative gestures”, reported Billboard and BBC.

The Musicians’ Syndicate has also stripped the singer of her membership.

Freemuse is concerned over the recent targeting of female artists in Egypt and calls for the release of Laila Amer and the charges to be dropped.

“Egyptian authorities appear to be on a heightening morality campaign, prosecuting female artists for their freedom of expression and overstepping international law. Artists like Laila Amer, and Shyma before her, are being unjustly detained for their right to perform their art,” Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said. “Authorities must create an environment of safety for the country’s artists to perform rather than create a culture of fear.”

The singer said the song she performed in the video is “respectable” and doesn’t include any obscenities or insults, adding that she simply performed the song and hadn’t written the lyrics, reported news website Youm7.

In the video Amer plays a housewife who complains to her husband about her bossy mother-in-law.

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