Egypt court frees 17 accused of inciting debauchery: sources

Eight Egyptian men on trial for doing a video prosecutors claimed was of a gay wedding hide their identities as they sit in the defendent's cage during their trial in Cairo on November 1, 2014. The video, filmed aboard a Nile riverboat, shows what prosecutors said was a gay wedding ceremony, with two men in the centre kissing, exchanging rings and cutting a cake with their picture on it. The Egyptian court jailed the eight men for three years. AFP PHOTO / STR / AFP PHOTO / -
Eight Egyptian men on trial for doing a video prosecutors claimed was of a gay wedding hide their identities as they sit in the defendant’s cage during their trial in Cairo on November 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO 

17 people arrested last month during a crackdown on homosexuality were released by a Cairo court on Sunday, judicial sources said.

They had been charged with practicing homosexuality and inciting debauchery and were sentenced to three years in prison should they fail to pay a fine of $285 which is equivalent to 5,000 Egyptian pounds, Reuters reports.

The defendants have been given leave to appeal against the sentence in a higher court.

Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife. Gay men are frequently arrested and typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

In October Egyptian security forces arrested 57 people in a wave of arrests triggered by the raising of a rainbow flag at a music concert.

The overwhelming majority of those arrested were not involved in the flag incident, however, and were arrested over their perceived sexual orientation in the following days.