Egypt court reduces sentences in 'gay wedding' video to 1 year

Ahram Online , Saturday 27 Dec 2014

The men convicted were shown appearing to take part in a Nile boat "wedding celebration" featuring two men as the celebrants

same-sex wedding
In this Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 file photo, Eight Egyptian men convicted for "inciting debauchery" following their appearance in a video of an alleged same-sex wedding party on a Nile boat leave the defendant's cage in a courtroom in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AP)

Cairo appeals court reduced on Saturday the sentence of eight men, accused of "debauchery", to one year in prison instead of the three years they were given in November.

The men were convicted on debauchery charges after a video surfaced on social media networks which allegedly showed them holding a same-sex wedding ceremony.

The defendants denied the accusations saying they were simply holding a birthday party for a friend not a wedding.

Consensual same-sex relations are not legally prohibited in Egypt, but other laws as "anti-debauchery" or "shameless public acts." have been used to prosecute men accused of engaging in homosexual activities.

During the investigations, forensics authority said that the defendants had undergone physical inspections and were found to be "not gay."

In a different case in September, an Egyptian court sentenced six allegedly homosexual men to two years in jail with labour for the same charges of "committing debauchery."

The six men were arrested during a raid on an apartment.

In recent months, police has raided apartments and locations they describe as brothels in an apparent "get tough on morality" campaign.

In December, officers arrested 26 men at a working-class public Turkish bathhouse, accusing them of indecent behaviour.

The men are facing trial on debauchery charges.

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