As those of us here in the U.S. continue our fight for things like marriage equality and employment nondiscrimination laws, we should remember that are LGBT brothers in sisters in other places are still fighting for the right not to be arrested.
The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights reports that three men in Northern Cyprus, which is under the control of Turkey, have been arrested and jailed for more than five days now for “conspiring to have a sexual intercourse against the order of nature.”
If the men are convicted, they could be imprisoned for up to five years.
According to the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, one of the men is former Cyprus Finance Minister Dr. Michael Sarris. The other two were not named.
The Intergroup on LGBT Rights notes that Northern Cyprus is the only remaining territory in Europe where homosexuality is illegal, and that laws criminalizing homosexuality are a breach of the “European Convention on Human Rights,” which is in force in Cyprus.
Eleni Theocharous and Ioannis Kasoulides, Cypriot members of the European Parliament have called for the men’s immediate release, saying in a written statement that “Consenting adults have the right to engage in sexual intercourse with people of the same sex.”
Michael Cashman, another member of the European Parliament and president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, added, “The criminalisation of homosexuality has no place in the 21st century.”