The Qasr Al-Nil Court sentenced eight defendants to three years on charges of homosexuality and offending public morals, according to state-run Al Ahram. The men were arrested after a video of an unofficial same-sex wedding went viral on social media.
The two men, who are seen in the video celebrating their marriage on a boat, were also charged with “inciting debauchery”.
The prosecution described the celebration as “a devilish shameless party”.
Suspects accused of homosexuality are frequently forced to undergo medical tests, including anal examination, to check whether they are “habitual” homosexuals, a practice condemned by rights groups. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), who has called for the detainees’ release, the procedure represents a violation of “international standards against torture”.
Hisham Abdel Hamid, spokesman for the forensic department previously told Daily News Egypt that, based on the results of medical tests, the nine defendants are “not homosexuals”.
However, the defendants were held in preventative detention and sent to court.
“These arrests represent another assault on fundamental human rights and reflect the Egyptian government’s growing disdain for the rule of law,” Graeme Reid, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Programme for HRW said in a statement.
Egypt’s ambassador to the United Nations, Amr Ramadan, announced his deep regret at the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution on 26 September, that combats violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
Ramadan said that Egypt has taken a leading role in “combating all decisions that stand against the morals of Arab and Muslim communities”.
Following the latest crackdown on homosexuals, online dating app Grindr warned users in Egypt against giving out their personal information and setting up meetings with other Grindr users. They said this was due to the threat of arrests against users in the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] community.
On18 October, LGBT activists launched a campaign against the persecution of homosexuals in Egypt. Activists called for demonstrations in front of every Egyptian embassy around the world to “protest against human rights violations committed by the Egyptian government, relying on unlawful and unethical media tools, towards those of differing sexual orientations and gender identities”, the organisers said in a statement.
Egyptian law does not directly forbid homosexuality, but crackdowns have taken place citing charges of “violating the teachings of religion and public morals”.
In October 2013, prosecutors ordered fourteen suspects to be detained on allegations they committed “homosexual acts” in a medical centre in the El-Marg neighbourhood of Cairo, and to undergo medical tests.
Last April, an Egyptian court sentenced four men to up to eight years in prison for “practicing debauchery.”
In 2001, 52 males were arrested on a boat on charges related to homosexual acts and “satanism”, with some receiving prison sentences.