Eight Egyptian men have been sentenced to three years in prison after a court in Cairo charged them with debauchery and offending public morality for a video that appears to show a same-sex wedding. The men were arrested on September 6, according to Human Rights Watch.
The video, filmed in August on a Nile riverboat and uploaded to YouTube, shows two men kissing and exchanging rings with a group of male onlookers. Yet the defendants in the case claim the video is of a birthday party.
Homosexuality is legal in Egypt – which is why the men were brought up on decency charges – yet the BBC points out police raids of gay establishments have risen in recent months.
Egyptian authorities have also allegedly taken to social media recently to arrest gay men, according to a report in Germany’s largest paper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and a report in The Washington Post on the use of gay dating app Grindr in Egypt.
Over the summer, writer Bel Trew investigated how Egypt’s LGBT population was being treated under current the nation’s current president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi for The Daily Beast and the report was harrowing.
“In the last 10 months, dozens have been arrested and at least 18 homosexual and transgender people have been jailed under the country’s draconian legislation criminalizing ‘sexual deviance,’ ‘debauchery’ and ‘insulting public morals.’ The prison sentences have ranged from 3 to 12 years,” Trew wrote in June.
NPR notes the ruling against the eight men is subject to appeal.