Former finance minister reportedly in detention for same-sex activity

ILGA-Europe demands release of imprisoned men in Northern Cyprus

19.10.2011 - 16:31

The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) sent a letter on 19 October to the president and prime minister of Northern Cyprus under Turkish administration demanding the immediate end to detaining men, to the immediate release of men detained, and to the dropping of charges against men being prosecuted of consensual, adult same-sex activity.

ILGA-Europe expressed several previous concerns about Article 171 of Chapter 154 of the Criminal Code, which criminalises consensual adult male same-sex sexual activity, and violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In July, and on 14 October 2011, there are reports of a total of five men being arrested for counts of “accusation of ‘unnatural intercourse’, suspicion of prostitution, having breached Article 171 of the Criminal Code, and ‘conspiracy to commit a felony’”.

One of the men was the former finance minister of the Republic of Cyprus.

Yet ILGA-Europe claims that the police have no evidence of any sexual relations between the men.

On 15 October, two more men were arrested and charged with breaching Article 171. Reports say that while in police custody, the men have been ill treated and forced to undergo medical examinations, which resulted in negative results for homosexual activity.

The men will continue to be held in custody until later this week when they will appear before a court. ILGA-Europe called on leaders to uphold international human rights law, free the seven men, declare Article 171 unconstitutional and investigate the ill treatment claims of the men while in police custody.