Two Canadian soldiers stationed in Holland ahead of a deployment in Afghanistan have been convicted of beating up a gay man in Amsterdam.

Eric Wright and Ryan Dowie, both 22 at the time of the incident last May, received custodial sentences for the attack, which left their 28-year-old victim with a skull fracture and broken nose.

The soldiers convinced the court that they called their victim a “fag” and “gay” because he was a civilian wearing military-style dog tags.

Wright was sentenced to five months and Dowie to 45 days in jail.

Wright was also ordered to pay 6,000 euros (£4,180) damages.

“The court sees no reason to doubt the declaration of the suspects that they didn’t even know the victim and his friends were homosexual until they were informed of this by the police after the incident,” according to the Canadian Press.

Their convictions have been widely reported in the Netherlands, where there is concern about a rise in homophobic attacks, and in Canada, which has a reputation for tolerance and respect for gay rights.

There are 2,500 Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan as part of a NATO force fighting the Taliban.