Eight Egyptian men have been sentenced to three years in jail for their participation in a video that went viral and claimed to show Egypt’s first same-sex wedding, found guilty of “spreading indecent images and inciting debauchery,” reports Reuters.
After the men serve their sentences, they will still be subjected to police supervision, a judge ruled Saturday. The decision can be appealed, Reuters notes.
The video at the center of the case was purportedly filmed in April on board a Nile riverboat, and appeared to show a pair of men exchanging rings and tender kisses as friends cheered them on. The video went viral in July, and in September, the men were arrested as Egyptian police sought an estimated 16 people allegedly featured in the video.
The men “tested negative” for homosexuality in September — the result of unscientific, invasive “medical” examinations that often include forced rectal examinations, and have been condemned as demeaning and unnecessary by international human rights groups and the United Nations. Egyptian officials said the inspection revealed the men arrested had never had sex with other men.
Shortly thereafter, a man who claimed to be on board the boat the night of the celebration claimed that the entire incident was a “misunderstanding,” and that the exchange of rings was actually the culmination of a birthday joke.
Although Egyptian law does not expressly criminalize homosexuality, men perceived to be gay are often prosecuted under a "debauchery" law, according to a 2010 report by Amnesty International. Just five percent of Egyptians believe that society should accept homosexuality, reports the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project.