JAIL terms of three years have been handed down to eight men in Egypt who appeared in a “gay wedding” video, despite homosexuality not been illegal in the north African country.

Unable to convict the men under a crime that doesn’t exist, the court in Cairo instead ruled that the video “violated public decency”.

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The men were sentenced to a further three years’ probation following their jail terms.

The group were arrested in September after the video, which was reported to have been filmed in April, appeared on YouTube.

In the video, which the Star Observer reported on at the time, two men are seen exchanging rings, kissing and cutting a cake at a ceremony surrounded by friends.

Following the arrest, one of the participants claimed the video was a fake and was supposed to be a joke.

According to The Guardian, the Egyptian justice ministry had insisted a series of “medical tests” had proved the men’s innocence. The tests refer to anal examinations which have been condemned by the Human Rights Watch.

“The medical test showed that the eight defendants have not practised homosexuality recently or in the past,” ministry spokesperson Hesham Abdel Hamed said.

“The entire case is made up and lacks basis. The police did not arrest them red-handed and the video does not prove anything.”

However, the comments were not enough to sway the judge who sided with the comments of the country’s chief prosecutor, who said the video was “shameful to God” and “offensive to public morals”.

The ruling was met with uproar within the court and demonstrators outside who had to be broken up by Cairo police.

While homosexuality is not explicitly outlawed in Egypt, gay people are regularly accused of breaking public decency laws or scorning religion.

With the country’s Arab Spring now fading into memory, LGBTI Egyptians are increasingly being swept up in government crackdowns that also include atheists, pro-democracy activists and street protesters.

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