The European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law (ECSOL) condemns the arbitrary arrest and continued detention of the former Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Sarris and other individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation by the regime in Northern Cyprus. We strongly believe it is entirely unacceptable that people are still prosecuted on the basis of their sexual orientation for ‘’acts against the order of nature’’ in the 21st century.
Laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are in violation of the prohibition on unjustified interference with the right to respect for private life as codified in Article 8 of the ECHR. We are further aware of the unlawful entry into one of the persons’ premises in the absence of an ‘’arrest warrant’’ and accordingly we also denounce this deplorable act that violates the fundamental right to privacy.
The continuation of the use of archaic laws in the North of the island dating back to the British colonial rule in Cyprus that criminalised consensual same-sex relationships is a great cause of concern. We are calling on the authorities in Northern Cyprus to immediately release all men that have been arrested under the anachronistic provisions in Sections 171-173 of the old Penal Code that were in place before the ECtHR decision in Modinos v Cyprus and to take steps to decriminalize homosexual conduct and comply with international human rights standards for the protection of LGBT rights.
ECSOL is also aware of the allegations that the arrested persons that remain under custody have been tortured by the ‘’police’’ and calls for an immediate investigation of these complaints.
Our members come from across Europe, both inside and outside the European Union and have a range of professional backgrounds, including legal academics, practising lawyers, judges and those working in governmental or non-governmental organisations. They have expert knowledge in legal issues pertaining to sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Their expertise includes fields such as criminal law, human rights law, anti-discrimination law, and family law.