Case Dismissed Against Transgender Activists in Turkey

(Ankara- October 21) A Turkish judge has dismissed the case against 5 transgender activists from Pembe Hayat LGBT Solidarity group – an Ankara-based transgender rights organization, citing the lack of evidence against the defendants.

At the start of the two-hour court session, the presiding judge made it clear that his decision in the case would "not be given based on our prejudices about sexual identities " of the defendants. During the court session, the judge also reprimanded police officers - who were the plaintiffs in this case- for their mistreatment of the transgender activists, stating that the style of their intervention "against these five people was totally wrong."

The activists had been indicted by Ankara's public prosecutor and charged with resisting authorities after an incident on May 17, 2010 during which the Turkish police arbitrarily detained and brutally attacked the five activists. Pembe Hayat, IGLHRC and other organizations wrote to Turkish authorities to protest this abuse and to call for the charges to be dropped.

Although the case against the 5 trans activists was dropped, two of them, Buse Kılıçkaya and Derya Tunç, who have prior history of arrest by the police, had to attend another hearing on Tuesday October 26 on further charges of having resisted the police during the May 17 arrest. The case, opened by the prosecutor based on the request from the policemen involved in the May 17 arrest, was re-scheduled for December 29 due to the absence of plaintiffs in the court and the judge’s request to examine additional evidence on the case presented by Pembe Hayat activists.

IGLHRC congratulates our colleagues at Pink Life for their legal victory and express solidarity in their struggle for fair and equal treatment of the transgender population in Turkey.