An Egyptian court has jailed eight men for three years for “inciting debauchery” following their appearance in an alleged same-sex wedding party on a Nile boat.
The internet video shows two men exchanging rings and embracing among cheering friends. The eight were detained in September when a statement from the office of Egypt’s chief prosecutor said the video clip was “shameful to God” and “offensive to public morals”.
Egypt is a conservative majority Muslim country with a sizeable minority of Christians. Homosexuality is a social taboo for both communities and only in recent years fiction and films have included gay characters.
Consensual same-sex relations are not explicitly banned but other laws have been used to imprison gay men in recent years, including “debauchery” or “shameless public acts.” Same-sex marriage is unheard of in Egypt.
Saturday’s verdict is the latest in a crackdown by authorities against gays and atheists. The campaign also targets liberal and pro-democracy activists and violators of a draconian law on street protests.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said in September that Egyptian authorities have repeatedly arrested and tortured men suspected of consensual gay conduct.
In April, four men were convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison for “debauchery” after allegedly holding parties that involved homosexual acts and where women’s clothing and makeup were found.