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Egyptian Court Sentences Eight Men In "Wedding Video" To Three Years In Jail

This is the most high-profile prosecution of people alleged to be gay in Egypt in more than a decade.

Posted on November 1, 2014, at 2:19 p.m. ET

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On Saturday, a court in Cairo sentenced eight men who appeared in a YouTube video that showed two men exchanging wedding rings to three years in prison on charges of debauchery and violating public decency, Egypt's Aswat Masriya reported.

The case is the most high-profile incident in a growing crackdown on LGBT rights in Egypt under the regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The police arrested the men in September after the video, which appeared to have been made on a cell phone, received widespread attention throughout Egypt and other parts of the Arabic-speaking world.

One of the participants called a popular TV program to say the video was just a joke, but Muslim Brotherhood politicians attacked Sisi for allowing a same-sex wedding on his watch.

More than 77 people alleged to be LGBT have been arrested in Egypt in the past year under Sisi's rule — a dramatic increase since the last years of President Hosni Mubarak's rule and the one year that the country was controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi.

It is also the first highly publicized case against alleged LGBT individuals in Egypt people since 2001, when more than 50 men were tried in a case known by the name of the club where many of them were arrested, the Queen Boat.

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