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Egyptian 'Gay Wedding' Video Participants Get Reduced Sentences

Egyptian 'Gay Wedding' Video Participants Get Reduced Sentences


All eight men involved in a Nile riverboat ceremony have won shorter sentences on appeal.

An appeals court in Cairo has ruled that eight men who were convicted in November on charges of promoting indecent images and inciting debauchery because of their participation in a YouTube video purporting to show Egypt's first same-sex wedding have received reduced sentences, reports Al Jazeera.

The men will spend a year each in jail, rather than the three years a lower court had ordered.

The video, which had percolated on YouTube undetected by authorities for years, showed two men exchanging wedding vows while the other six cheered them on. The so-called gay wedding ceremony happened on a riverboat on the Nile. However, same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Egypt.

Abuse and Humiliation
Losing their freedom is only part of the abuse the men have suffered since their arrests. Each of the eight "tested negative" for homosexuality in a procedure conducted by Egyptian "doctors," which likely included rectal examinations intended to determine if the men had anal sex with other men. Human rights groups and global health authorities have condemned such procedures as purposeless and dehumanizing.

New President's Crackdown on 'Debauchery'
While homosexuality is not explicitly illegal in Egypt, anti-indecency and ant-debauchery laws are regularly used to prosecute and persecute LGBT Egyptians. There has been a harsh crackdown against the LGBT population by the militaristic regime of newly elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in recent months.

Twenty-six men are currently being tried on similar charges after Egyptian television reporter Mona Iraqi allegedly arranged a raid by security forces on a 100-year-old bathhouse in Cairo. Their trial will continue January 4.

Meanwhile, Mona Iraqi is being increasingly criticized by journalists around the world and has been dropped as the Egyptian representative at a prestigious European documentary film festival.

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