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Alleged “Gay Sex” Arrest Snare Leading Politician in North Cyprus

Alleged “Gay Sex” Arrest Snare Leading Politician in North Cyprus

At least five men have been arrested in North Cyprus for ‘homosexual offenses’.

The Cyprus Mail reports that amongst them is the former finance minister Michalis Sarris of the Cyprus Republic (the south of the island). The report says there are four others aged 14, 16, 17 and 29, but ILGA-Europe says that they believe there are seven now in custody.

Sarris was one of three arrested in a warrantless house raid, 14 October. The two others were arrested the next day.

During 17 October’s remand hearing in Nicosia, Northern Cyprus police said that they needed to take testimonies from 20 more people, three of whom were missing.

At the hearing four men complained of police brutality in detention but a judge ordered them back into detention anyway, but also ordered that all five be examined by a doctor.

The three teenagers were taken from the court in handcuffs with T-shirts pulled over their heads to a waiting press outside the courtroom as friends looked on in sympathy.

According to other reports, there has been much speculation in the North Turkish media regarding sexual contact between Sarris and a teenager,  based on the alleged charge of sex with a minor although is no such charge, only the homosexual offense of ‘committing an unnatural act’, which is a hangover from the British Empire. The Cyprus Mail report was illustrated with a picture of Sarris being paraded in front of the cameras (with one of the teenagers) by police.

Writing in financialmirror.com, Fiona Mullen says that Sarris is suffering “Death by a thousand tweets.”

As Sarris is also central to negotiations to reunite the island, there has been speculation that his arrest was political, but, says Mullen, “[police] did not realise until after the arrest that they had caught “a big fish”, so rather than suffer the embarrassment of jailing someone just for homosexual sex, they had to scrabble for more serious charges.”

Northern Cyprus group Initiative Against Homophobia has accused the Northern Cyprus media in their reporting of the case of ‘normalizing an attitude of hatred’ and ‘feeding homophobic reports and comments to the public’.

The Cyprus Mail reports that:

A doctor who examined both Sarris and the 17-year-old testified before the court, ruling out the possibility of sexual contact between the two. She also told the court that the 17-year-old had a wound on his forehead which did not exist when he was first examined on Friday.

ILGA-Europe claims that:

“Their [the arrested] dignity was breached when the men were made to undergo anal examinations in a hospital to prove that [the sodomy law] has been breached.”

On Saturday, Turkish Cypriot police rounded up two teenagers, aged 14 and 16, claiming that the 14-year-old had confessed to having sexual relations with the 29-year-old. They also said they had a written confession from the 17-year-old regarding his relations with Sarris. This was after raiding a house in North Nicosia and arresting Sarris and two others.

The 17-year-old has continually alleged police brutality and named the alleged police perpetrators in court who he said beat him to extract a ‘confession’. The 29-year-old, the Cyprus Mail said, had injuries showing clearly on his face.

A member of the Council of Europe’s Legal Affairs and Human Rights committee, Christos Pourgourides, who was present at the hearing, said that he would take the case to the Council.

A lawyer pointed out to Cyprus Mail that as Northern Cyprus police are controlled by Turkey it would be Turkey taken to the European Court – despite homosexuality being legal there.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights in the European Parliament, today called for the release of the men:

“The binding jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights must be implemented immediately in the whole island of Cyprus,” he said. “The criminalisation of homosexuality has no place in the 21st century.”

ILGA-Europe has also sent a letter to the President and the Prime Minister of Northern Cyprus demanding the men’s release.

ILGA-Europe say that they have been asking for the sodomy statute to be removed from the books for some time. They say they met with the Speaker of the Assembly, Hasan Bozer, in 2010 and were assured that he was well aware of the problem with the law and were told it was no longer enforced.

In July, two were charged with ‘unnatural intercourse’ in Northern Cyprus, which carries a five year imprisonment term.

The [Cypriot] Cyprus Republic in the south of the island decriminalised homosexuality in 1998.

Head of the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation Emine Erk said earlier that the use of the sodomy law is “usually mixed up with something else. Usually police are trying to pressure someone involved on some other issue.”

Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam reports that on Monday, outside the court, the New Cyprus Party (YKP) and seven civil society organizations gave a press conference saying “We do not want a homophobic state”.

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23 comments

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2:59AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

to attend the trial he later on “(I) decided not to go to the north (today) because I believe that the conditions of arrest and detention and the methods applied were used to secure false witness. Even up until today that supposed witness material has not been given to my lawyers” adding “This leaves me in no doubt that the pre-conditions for the correct attribution of justice do not exist”.
Dr Sarris noted that beyond everything else there is also the political dimension to the matter, which he takes seriously. His decision is in agreement to the General Attorney og the Republic of Cyrpus Mr. Petros Clerides and other distinguished lawyers.

2:48AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

To Rob and Jay B.: thank you for your comment, at least you are distinguishing between the two different regimes in Cyprus.
The area Sourth of the Buffer zone is not administered by the Greek cypriots, as pointed in the map, but by the Cypriot Governement, who according to international regulations is the legitimate governement for the entire island (Cyprus Governement being the legitimate government of the island of Cyrpus, as directed for the Zurich-London agreements and the given constitution of the Cyprus Republic in 1961), only since 1974 cannot enforce legislations in the north of the island due to the Turkish invasion of 1974. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Turkish-Cyrpiots, in fact I have lots of friends there, but that does not somehow turn the administration of the north into a legitimate governement.
Though I am disqust of how they treat the LGBTs there, one needs to keep in mind that this case is more political than about human rights. In the middle of the peace talks between the Cypriot Governement and the Turkish Cypriot administration, the formenr minister of Finance is arrested on sex charges, and though no other names are given to publicity, his name flashes all over the news media. And his next trial was set for the day the President and the Turkish Cypriot leader would meet to further discuss the solution of Cyprus' issue.
Sarris was bailed for 47000 euros and was supposed to be tried the day before yesterday and though he at first agreed

1:10PM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

No, I'm not surprised since Cyprus used to be British.

2:21AM PDT on Oct 24, 2011

"Are you surprised that such laws exist in Cyprus?"

The question should have said 'Northern' Cyprus, which is controlled by Turkey. Though Turkey is making progress in human rights in its bid to join the European Union, it still is noted for its persecution of gay people. It may be the most 'liberal' of Muslim countries but it is still tainted by Islamic Law & the dominant ruling party is an Islamist party which can't help but be influenced by the barbaric homophobia of Islam and its founder, Mohammed. Islamic Law demands killing gays, so it would seem 'just' imprisoning them & persecuting them is a step into the modern scientific age. That must be a certain progress but not enough.

Hopefully the EU Court of Human Rights will be able to stop this backward persecution, but don't hold your breath. Iranian gays escaping into Turkey to avoid certain death by slow strangulation under Islam/Sharia Law there, find themselves being persecuted in Turkey along with the few Christians still who haven't fled or who weren't part of the 3 million massacred in the early 20th century genocide & ethnic cleansing of the country under Ataturk, who wanted to rid the country (once Christian Byzantium before the Turk conquest) of all Christians, & the Kurds who are brutally repressed.

Southern Cyprus isn't a bastion of gay friendliness, but compared to the Turkish occupied north it is a place of freedom.

3:33PM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

to be honest i'm not surprised, we are almost at that point in the us, when we should be taking steps forward not backward. It is pathetic and horrible and the people that do this to others are scum

4:45PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

No matter what peoples leaning are as regards homosexuals , the Gayes themselves must try not to generate either overt acceptance or rejection because it is a double edged sward being used to divide people. It is part of divide and rule and the Hegelian dialectic that will come into play when crisis are generated, followed by aggression depriving people of their rights and finally brutally supressing those who stand in their way. .

1:18PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

Terrible all the way around. Human rights violations and abuses cannot be condoned. Thanks Paul.

12:17PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

*sigh*

12:05PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

This is barbaric. Police brutality, too! Disgusting where ever it happens.

11:59AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

noted

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