Cyprus: Parliament Postpones Repeal of Anti-Gay Law

The Parliament of Cyprus has once again postponed a vote on repealing Cyprus' anti-sodomy law which imposes a penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment. The Parliament was scheduled to debate the issue on May 22, 1997, but adjourned without doing so. A final decision on this matter has been pending in Parliament since the Cypriot Ministry of Justice proposed a bill to decriminalize private consensual homosexual relations between adults in January 1995.

The Cyprus Ministry of Justice previously claimed that a change in the law was unnecessary because it had not been enforced since 1980, and was "rendered inoperative" by the European Convention on Human Rights and by the right to privacy guaranteed in Article 15 of the Cyprus Constitution. However, until the law is fully and finally repealed, it remains inoperative by informal agreement alone. As long as the law remains on the books, so does the threat of persecution and the denial of basic human rights to homosexuals.

The Cypriot Criminal Code Cap. 154, Section 171 and 173 prohibits a "male person" from having "carnal knowledge" with another man as well as any two persons from having "carnal knowledge against the order of nature." On April 22, 1993, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the landmark case Modinos vs. Cyprus that this law violates an individual's right to privacy as guaranteed under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This important decision made over 4 years ago obliges Cyprus to repeal Sections 171 and 173.

IGLHRC requests that you send letters to the following officials, urging them to fully and finally repeal this archaic law, bringing Cyprus into compliance with the European Court ruling, and to international human rights standards.

Send letters to:

The President of the Republic of Cyprus
The Rt. Honorable Glafkos Clerides, Q.C.
The Executive Office of the President
Nicosia, Cyprus
The House Of Representatives
The Hon. Alexis Ghalanos, President of the House
Parliament Building
Nicosia, Cyprus
The Minister Of Justice & Public Order
The Hon. Leexos Evangeliou
12 Heliopoleous
Nicosia, Cyprus
Fax: +357-2-302355
Judge-President of the Supreme Court of Cyprus
Dr. Demetris Stylianides
The Supreme Court of Cyprus
Supreme Court Building
Nicosia, Cyprus
Attorney-General of Cyprus
Dr. Alexos Markides
The Supreme Court of Cyprus
Supreme Court Building
Nicosia, Cyprus