Press Release by Hoki regarding last court case: "crimes against nature"

29/07/2011
Submitted by Reshat Shaban - Initiative Against Homophobia

On the 20th July, 2011 we have been informed of yet another tyranny practiced over our bodies. Two men have been taken into custody by the police with charges of "sexual relations against nature" upon complaints by neighbours. Chapter 154 of the penal code still prohibits certain sexual acts among adults regardless of their sexuality under the pretense of "sexual relations against nature".

Since the beginning of our work as the "Initiative Against Homophobia" from 2007 onwards, we have worked to get the legislators to make the necessary changes to Chapter 154 of the penal code and the related Article 171 concerning homosexual relations. We have been following with dismay the failure of our "Penal Code Amendment Proposal" which we have submitted to the Head of the Parliament in 2008 and 2010 to reach the Legal Committee. The falsity of the statement, often pronounced by legislators and judicial powers, that this particular chapter of the penal code is no longer in effect has been once more proven by the recent incident mentioned above. We have observed that this law can turn into a nightmare of human rights when it is deemed necessary to put it back into effect by the authorities. We also observe with anxiety how 'democratic' the current regime is and how it can turn a blind eye to human rights through the statements pronounced by the government of the TRNC in the aftermath of the recent acts of police violence directed against peaceful protestors. In a world where the Ministry of Health is supposed to protect people, we find it unethical and strongly condemn:

the presentation of homosexual orientation, unlisted as a disease by the World Health Organisation in 1990, as a threat to the public;
that information on the health status of individuals, a most confidential and private matter, is made public domain;
statements which could result in the public perception of AIDS as a homosexual disease;
the presentation of the arrested individuals as a threat to the society.
We call upon those media establishments which have disclosed the names of individuals whose guiltiness has not been proven and which have concocted sensational news out of the events to observe both the law as well as the ethics of journalism. We also call upon media establishments to end their publications and broadcasts disclosing the private lives of individuals, thus causing irreperable psychological damage, and to display more concern for advocating gender equality.

As the "Initiative Against Homophobia", we believe that the necessity to urgently change the Article 171 of Chapter 154 of the penal code has become much more clear with this recent event. We call upon the government of the TRNC and its political parties to amend this law, which has been referred to the Constitutional Court, with a view to the "Penal Code Amendment" proposal which we have communicated to them, and to prepare and put into effect laws observing basic human rights to enable the de-listing of TRNC from the list of countries practicing homophobia through the government in Europe. We believe that it is the state's responsibility to protect the human rights of every citizen who lives in this country.

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