CAIRO: Eight men have been sentenced to three years in prison with labor for appearing in a video allegedly celebrating a gay marriage on a boat on the Nile in September, Youm7 reported Saturday.
The defendants were charged with incitement to debauchery and violation of public decency. One man claimed to have been among the two people exchanging rings and kisses in the video, denied being homosexual in a phone interview on TV in September.
The arrested suspects were forced to submit to forensic anal examinations; the results of the forensic anal exams concluded that the men were “not homosexuals,” HRW noted in a press release on Sept. 9. In further arguments however, HRW expressed more concern for the state’s crackdown on gay rights.
“Egypt does not explicitly criminalize same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults, but same-sex marriage is not legal, and authorities have routinely arrested people suspected of engaging in consensual homosexual conduct on charges of debauchery,” HRW stated.
On Sept. 6, Youm7 published some reported details from the investigations conducted by prosecution authorities. It focused on how the video became public and suggested that a revenge issue between one of the couple’s ex-partnets was the reason the video was leaked.
Although it was not confirmed when the apparent marriage party took place, the video went viral on social media websites in late August. Most comments by social media users on several links to the video on Youtube and Facebook were condemning of the people in the video.
Many mocked and insulted, with a repeated use of the phrase “unfortunately happening in Egypt.” A few spoke in their defense but not in defense of homosexuality, rather denouncing the public’s reaction.
“Forensic medicine cleared them from the charge, stop taking advantage of people’s honors,” Mohamed M. commented.
“I don’t think the video is what it is, and the TV program interviewing one of them should be accurate and have evidence before broadcasting. The people in the video should seek to get back at the program which violated their personal rights,” Driss Didio posted.
The program in question is hosted by Tamer Amin, who has more than once mocked his interviewee and indirectly referred to him as an “indecent man,” allegedly one of the men who appeared in the video.
Additional reporting by Mahmoud Abdul Rady, Mohamed Ibrahim and Amany al-Akhras.