Former Cyprus Finance Minister Charged With “Felony Homosexuality”

Last week, a Turkish Cypriot court arrested and formally charged 65-year-old former Greek Cypriot finance minister Michalis Sarris with felony homosexuality, or as ABC News calls it “[having] gay sex in the north.”

In 1974 the country split into two halves—the Turkish-speaking north and a Greek-speaking south. While the south repealed it’s anti-gay law almost a decade ago, the north still has its anti-gay law on the books.

Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu reportedly agreed that his legislature should repeal the anti-gay law, though no such bill exists at the time.

Sarris has been released on $63,000 bail and will appear in court next month. In the meanwhile, activists demonstrated in front of the courthouse where Sarris was being held to condemn the outdated law.

That being said, did you know that sodomy is still punishable in 16 states?

Image via Keith Allison

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  • Andrew Wells

    Nice to know yet another positive way that British colonialism contributed to the world. And that includes these sodomy laws.

  • Wrong as ever

    As ever, Queerty is quite wrong. Simple sodomy is punishable nowhere since 2003, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas.

  • Marty

    Thank you. This is why Dallas has a late in the year Gay Pride week. It stems from an inter-racial couple in Houston having really loud ass pounding (scream for JESUS)sex. In the privacy of the their apartment. The police were called and they came into the apartment were arrested in bed for Sodomy! The pride date in Dallas is when the court decided to hear the case or something…NOTSURE on that. But we can have sex in all 50 states per the Supreme Court ruling in 2003!

  • Dallas David

    It’s not punishable in Texas, but the law is still on the books.
    Should the Supreme Court ever reverse the Lawrence v. Texas ruling, then they can start rounding us up. They won’t have to pass new legislation through the Texas House and Senate.

  • Alexander

    Well i think the tile is a little misleading as Cyprus(EU member-greek heritage) is
    one thing and North Cyprus another.

    What did you expect from Northern Cyprus, really? 1619 Greek Cypriots are still
    missing since 1974 with no info on their whereabouts and they refuse to give the
    families answers,admit the executions and reveal the mass graves.
    This place for the international community and the united Nations doesnt exist.Turkey has occupies the place since
    1974 and its
    the only country recognizing the independence, so as a result they depend on Turkey
    and Turkey has control on everything.Human Rights is a big Joke when it
    comes to the Greek and Kurdish minority according to a 2011 United Nations Report.I bet punishing them for sodomy equals
    complete humiliation of ones dignity in their eyes and that also makes me question the
    validity of what the Minister is accused for.

  • gay greece

    Cyprus has not formally “split”. Its northern part was invaded and occupied by turkish forces in 1974 and declared its “independence” in 1983, recognised by no-one other than Turkey. The island’s legitimate government views the occupied northern part as an “impostor state” and does not recognise the legitimacy of its courts.

    On the facts of the case: mr Sarris was Cyprus’ minister of the Treasury for three years in the previous administration and is a former member of the board of the World Bank. He was arrested in a private house together with its 29-year-old owner and a 17-year old teenager. They were all charged for “sex acts against nature”. Later turkish-cypriot police arrested two more teenagers, aged 14 and 16 respectively, and charged them as well, claiming that they confessed to sexual relations with the 29-year old. They say they were mistreated into signing the confession, while a doctor testified at the trial that he found no evidence that sex had taken place between Sarris and the 17-year old. Cypriot media report that before he became minister, Sarris faced similar charges in the occupied north that were quietly dropped. This raises many questions on the political motivation of the trial as well as the possibility of blackmail.

    The law that bans “sex acts against nature” dates from british colonial times and was revoked in the free part of the island in 1998. Since all homosexual relations are illegal in the occupied part, there is no law against the sexual abuse of minors. Indeed in this case the minors were charged with a sexual crime as well! The age of consent for heterosexual sex in northern Cyprus is 16.

    In the past, turkish-cypriot politicians have claimed that the law is no longer enforced. However only last July, two other men were arrested and charged under it, after the neighbors complained about their lovemaking.

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