OPEN LETTER AND PRESS RELEASE FOR THE CRUEL ARREST IN THE TURKISH CYPRIOT COMMUNITY

22 October 2011

Full text is below:

On 20 July 2011, two men were taken in custody and brought to “court” in the north part of the island of Cyprus, on an accusation of “unnatural intercourse”.
On 14 October 2011, new arbitrary arrests were carried out, this time three men were arrested, included the Former Finance Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, Michael Sarris.
Sarris has been charged with indecent strike, crime against nature and secret alliance. He will be at the court on the the 16th November, he has been released on 29th October, after four (4) days in prison, by giving bail. He was remanded in “custody” along with a 17-year-old Turk – according to Turkish Cypriot reports – and the 29-year-old owner of the house, in which they were found.
Sources mentioned to the Cyprus Mail that on Friday the “police” in the north raided the house without a warrant, arresting the three males in connection with the alleged crime of committing an “unnatural intercourse”.
In the statement of civil society organizations in the north part of the island of Cyprus, the age issue was also referred. The statement said that the current “law” in effect does not protect the rights of the children or the rights of people’s control over their own bodies. They are actually trying to put emphasis on the fact that one of the people who was arrested is 17, whereas it is known that in the Turkish community the age of consent for young women is 16 and it is non-existent for men. There is no appropriate law about the age of consent. It aims to protect the ‘morality’ of the society.” In this case the age issue is only being made an issue with which people associate homosexuality with paedophilia and this only feeds homophobic prejudice!

It was once again stressed that civil society organizations oppose homophobic situation in the “government” and media!

Statement in full:

In the north part of the island of Cyprus, the Article 171 of Chapter 154 of the “Criminal Law”, which has been in effect since the British colonial times, describes homosexual relationships as “relationships against nature”. This “law” continues to violate basic human rights. This “law” only affects relations between men. In recent months there have been arrests on the basis of alleged violations of this “law” and this has served as a painful reminder to everyone that this “law” is still in effect. It has also added one more violation of human rights to the list of violations by the Turkish Cypriot Community. .

Media organizations, with the help of the “government”, are continuing to normalise this crime against humanity, as they have done before. Some of them have stated the names, jobs and photos of the people who were arrested and, instead of advocating  human rights, they continue to manipulate the media with homophobic comments, hence taking the attention away from the human rights violation. This is another example that this “law” effect does not protect the rights of the children nor the rights of people’s control over their own bodies.

We, the undersigned Greek LGBT organizations and media,condemn the inhuman arrest of these people in the two previous cases (July and October),

We condemn and judge to be inhumane a law that considers homosexuality among men as “unnatural intercourse” and a serious crime, especially taking into account the UN declaration in recent reports that lesbian, gay, bisexual civil rights are considered as human rights!

We support the efforts of the two LGBT Turkish Community organizations in the north part of the island of Cyprus, HOKI and SHORTBUS MOVEMENT.

We ask from the Turkish Cypriot Community to change the penal code!

Signed:

• Teachers Against Homophobia
• LOTH (Lesbian Group of Thessaloniki)
• G.A.Y. (LGBTQ You, Community of Thessaloniki)
• LΟΑ (Lesbian Group of Athens)
• ΟLΚΕ (Gay-Lesbian Community of Greece)
• Partnership for Gender Equality
• City Uncovered – Greek LGBT magazine

About shortbusmovement

SHORTBUS MOVEMENT is a civil society initiative consists of Human Rights activists whose roles and positions change during each activity. SHORTBUS is a team of dedicated volunteer individuals who believe that all people are equal, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity, sex or any other status. The group’s center is located in northern part of Cyprus and they aimed to support all the individual or organizational activities of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) people of Turkish Community of Cyprus.

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