A court in Algeria has convicted 44 people after they attended a 'gay wedding' in the country.
Two men were handed prison terms and 42 others received suspended terms after the ceremony on 24 July, says Human Rights Watch.
Same-sex weddings are illegal in Algeria, along with same-sex sex acts.
The ruling was made on 3 September, reports the LGBTQ advocacy group and political lobbying organization. Some nine women and 35 men were arrested.
Convictions were made on the grounds of "same-sex relations,” “public indecency,” and “subjecting others to harm by breaking Covid-19-related quarantine measures."
"A flagrant infringement on their basic rights"
A HRC rep told how "an Algerian lawyer involved in the case told HRW that the court used police reports describing the decorations, flowers, and sweets indicative of a wedding celebration, and the men’s supposedly gay appearance, as evidence of guilt."
Rasha Younes, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights researcher at HRW said: “Algerian authorities’ attack on personal freedoms is nothing new, but arresting dozens of students based on their perceived sexual orientation is a flagrant infringement on their basic rights. They should immediately release from prison the two men who would be free today were it not for Algeria’s regressive anti-homosexuality laws.”
The commitment ceremony reportedly took place in the el-Kharoub, a district in Constantine Province, northeastern Algeria, and was attended mostly by university students.
According to Equaldex, homosexual acts in Algeria are punishable by imprisonment of between two months and two years.
No appeal has been scheduled for the convictions.
Attitude has approached HRC for further comment.