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Implications for Rights and Freedoms

Gay Marriage Video Case

Court / Presiding Judge

First Review: Qasr al-Nil Misdemeanour Court/Judge Ameer Assem
Second Review: Qasr al-Nil Misdemeanour Appeal Court/Judge Ahmed Sameer

Procedural History

On November 1, 2014, the court issued its verdict against eight men. On December 27, 2014, the court upheld the charges on second review, but reduced the sentences.

Verdict

The eight men were each sentenced to three years in prison; upon second review, the sentences were reduced to one year in prison each.

Summary of Reasoning

This case dates back to a viral Internet video that featured two men embracing each other and exchanging rings, while being cheered on by friends. The video was interpreted by Egyptian authorities to reportedly portray a “gay marriage.” The prosecutor-general referred to the video as “shameful to God” and “offensive to public morals.” The men were eventually sentenced for “inciting debauchery.”

Anecdotal Notes

The men in the case were subject to forensic anal examinations. The men in question denied all charges and said that the video depicted a birthday party, rather than a gay marriage. The judge cleared them of the debauchery charges, yet he sentenced them to three years for filming and distributing pornographic material, even though he ruled that there was no debauchery involved. A forensic report from the court found that the men had not engaged in homosexual intercourse.

Legal & Judicial Implications

Although homosexuality is not explicitly illegal under Egyptian law, the state has often criminalized it through charges such as debauchery.The spike in debauchery arrests and charges during Sisi's presidency raise serious questions regarding Egypt's commitment to preserving an individual’s right right to privacy, freedom of expression, and right to be free from discrimination. Further, the anal examinations that the men were subject to have been condemned internationally and are considered a form of torture and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment under international law.