EPs condemn gay arrests in Northern Cyprus

Published: February 1, 2012

A Conservative MEP has condemned arrests made in Northern Cyprus for “unnatural intercourse” after the self-declared state’s leader told her he had drafted a repeal of the law.

Marina Yannakoudakis, who represents London in Strasbourg, called for an immediate moratorium on arrests today.

Her concern was echoed by the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT rights after reports emerged that two men, one of whom is reported to be Nigerian, were arrested on 29 January.

Northern Cyprus declared itself an independent state in 1983 but has not had international recognition.

It currently criminalises gay sexual acts under section 171 and 173 of its criminal code.

Northern Cyprus is not a member of the EU and not bound by the European Convention on Human Rights.

In December, Ms Yannakoudakis had praised Dervi? Ero?lu for “agreeing to decriminalise homosexuality […] taking concrete measures to ensure those living in the north part of Cyprus may enjoy the same human rights as their fellow Europeans”.

But the MEP said today: “Dr. Ero?lu has twice promised me that the northern part of Cyprus would repeal the ban on homosexuality. I have so far taken him at his word, but now he needs to back up these words with deeds.

“There must be an immediate moratorium on arrests under Section 171 and the men arrested last month must be released without delay. Draft legislation submitted by the Communal Democratic Party must be fast-tracked through the assembly to ensure that there are no further miscarriages of justice and Dr. Ero?lu must keep his promise to sign the repeal into law.”

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