Two more arrests for homosexuality in the north of Cyprus
Two men were brought before a court in the northern part of Cyprus, accused of having taken part in ‘acts against nature’. The northern part of Cyprus is the last territory in Europe where homosexuality is a crime.
Following the highly visible arrest of former minister Michael Sarris and two other men in October 2011 for the same reasons, community leader Derviş Eroğlu had promised the Criminal Code would be amended.
Articles 171 and 173 currently foresee five years’ imprisonment for homosexual acts, and three years’ imprisonment for ‘attempts to commit [these] crimes’.
However, Turkish community sources report that two men in prison for previous offences were brought to court on 29 January, accused of ‘acts against nature’. The men did not have lawyers representing them.
The LGBT Intergroup in the European Parliament is highly worried that Mr Eroğlu’s promise to repeal sections 171-173 of the Criminal Code is not followed by tangible actions. In a letter to Marina Yannakoudakis MEP, Mr Eroğlu had pledged he would help amend legislation. The change proposed in parliament by the Communal Democratic Party has not yet been voted into law.
Eleni Theocharous MEP, a Cypriot member of the LGBT Intergroup, commented: “The prosecution of citizens based solely on their sexual preference constitutes a vulgar violation of elementary human rights. I call upon the regime subordinate to Turkey in the occupied area of Cyprus to immediately release the two men and desist from any legal action against them.”
She added: “I call upon the European Parliament and the international community to exert pressure on Turkey for the solution of the Cyprus problem, so that the EU’s ‘acquis communautaire’ is consequently implemented throughout Cyprus”
Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the LGBT Intergroup, continued: “The current Criminal Code wreaks lives, and Derviş Eroğlu’s promise must be followed by steadfast action. I will personally go to Cyprus in order to meet him, other leaders and NGOs, and encourage repealing this outdated piece of legislation which has no place in Europe—or anywhere in the world.”
While Michael Sarris crossed the border to the Republic of Cyprus (in the south) escaping prosecution, the two men arrested in October 2011 are still under investigation in the north of the island.