An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced eight men to three years in prison over a viral video that prosecutors said showed a gay wedding ceremony in a Nile riverboat.Since homosexuality is not banned under Egyptian law, the men, who were arrested in September, were charged with "inciting debauchery and offending public morality," according to a report by AFP.The court also sentenced the eight men to three years of probation once they have served their terms.The video shows two men exchanging rings, kissing and cutting a cake with their pictures on them. Before the their arrest, one of the sentenced men claimed that the wedding was just a joke and that it was actually a birthday party. Emad Sobhi, a defense lawyer, said that the court had gave into pressure from the conservative Egyptian population.
"My clients are innocent of practicing homosexuality," he told AFP. "The court succumbed to public opinion."A spokesman for the justice ministry's forensics unit said that an anal exam of the defendants confirmed that the they had not practiced anal sex.According to Human Rights Watch, Egyptian authorities have repeatedly used forensic anal examination in cases of alleged homosexual conduct, which violates international standards against torture. In the past, those subjected to the examinations in Egypt said they were forced to bend over while a government doctor working for the police massaged their buttocks and examined and sometimes probed their anus.The Editor of Arab affairs for the BBC, Sebastian Usher, told the BBC that Gay rights activists have said more than 80 people have been arrested in Egypt over the past year in a crackdown on homosexuals in Egypt. The largest crackdown on homosexuals in Egypt took place in 2001, when police raided a floating disco called the Queen Boat. Fifty-two men were tried in the case that drew widespread criticism from human rights groups and Western governments.