Court reduces gay wedding video men’s sentence

A scene from the alleged wedding video

A scene from the alleged wedding video

An Egyptian appeals court has upheld the conviction of eight men sentenced to three years in jail for appearing in a so-called gay wedding video.

They were, however, given some reprieve on Saturday, after the court reduced their sentences to one year in jail.

The video, reportedly shot in April, was leaked online and shows a group of men celebrating what appears to be a same-sex wedding on a Nile riverboat.

The accused have insisted that the gathering was not a wedding but a birthday party.

The men were arrested in September and were subjected to anal tests. Shortly after, a spokesman for the police’s forensic department said that the tests had shown that the men are “not homosexuals”.

Despite this they were found guilty of broadcasting images that “violated public decency”.

Their prosecution comes amidst a recent crackdown on the country’s gay and lesbian community.

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Egypt. While homosexuality is not specifically outlawed, gay people are targeted through immorality or public indecency laws.

Earlier this month, between 40 and 50 men were arrested at a bath house in Cairo on suspicion of “perversion.” In October, six  men were sentenced to two years in prison with labour on charges of “committing debauchery” after they were accused of promoting an apartment on Facebook as a location for gay sex.

The Egyptian authorities are believed to be using social media, including dating apps, to track down and arrest gay men.

Gay hook-up app Grindr has now taken to warning its Egyptian users to exercise caution when setting up dates with other men.

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