Egypt Arrests Seven Men from 'Gay Wedding' Video

After the video went viral on social media, the men were accused of inciting debauchery and undermining public morals.

Gil Ronen ,

Egyptian police
Egyptian police

Egypt arrested seven men on Saturday for taking part in a gay wedding video that went viral on social media, accusing them of inciting debauchery and undermining public morals. The arrest of two other participants is pending.

The video purporting to show the country's first gay marriage and featured two men exchanging rings surrounded by friends. 

"Nine of the 16 participants were identified in an investigation and seven were arrested," state news agency MENA said, without specifying whether the two men at the center of the ceremony were among those detained.

The seven were remanded in custody for up to four days, accused of "incitement to debauchery" and "publishing indecent images," MENA added.

The public prosecutor's office said in a statement that the party took place in April but the footage went viral in August, causing the police to take action to identify the men.

Prosecutors said they had also ordered "medical tests" of the men, a longstanding practice in Egypt to allegedly identify homosexuals that has been denounced by human rights groups, according to Al Jazeera.

According to the Cairo Post, the prosecution described the party as “satanic.” One of the men who allegedly appeared in the video spoke to television presenter Tamer Amin on the Rotana Masriya channel and denied being homosexual, or that the celebration was a wedding party. He said it was nothing more than a birthday party, and swore to G-d he was not gay. He said he had bought a cake and a silver ring as a gift for his friends.

In the video, a group of men appear to be celebrating the union of a homosexual couple exchanging rings and kissing. “It is likely that the video was not intended for broadcast and that the people in it did not know they were being filmed, as the person who took the video appears to be hiding the camera, and the people in it use foul language and insults they might not have used had they known it was going to be made public,” writes Cairo Post.

Homosexuality is not included in a list of sexual offenses explicitly outlawed by Egyptian law, but it can be punished under several different statutes on morality.

In April, four men were convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison for debauchery after holding parties that involved homosexual acts where women's clothing and makeup were found, Al Jazeera added.

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.