Egypt cuts 'first gay wedding video' jail sentences

Their prison terms were reduced from three years to just one

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An Egyptian appeals court has reduced the prison terms for eight men jailed last month for appearing in a video of the country's first gay marriage.

The court cut the sentences from three years each to one year, according to judicial sources.

The verdict drew “tears and shouts” from family members in the courtroom, a witness told the news agency Reuters.

The defendants denied charges of spreading indecent images and inciting debauchery.

The video went viral on social media sites in August, and appears to show a group of men celebrating a gay wedding on a Nile riverboat.

Gay marriage is not legal in Egypt, and although homosexuality itself is not specifically outlawed, homosexual acts are, and discrimination is widespread.

Egyptian police officers use social media and GPS-enabled dating apps such as Grindr to track and arrest people, according to LGBT activists in the country.

The people arrested are typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

A group of 26 men suspected of homosexuality were dragged naked from a bath house in downtown Cairo earlier this month, following a raid by Egyptian authorities.

Their trial, on charges including debauchery, is set to begin in January.

The eight men whose sentences were reduced may appeal the new ruling in the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest court.

 Additional reporting by Reuters