Jonny Payne PinkPaper.com
The former Cypriot Finance Minister who was detained by police for a week following alleged gay sex offences has described his experience as “a difficult ordeal”.
Michalis Sarris was released by officials in the Turkish north of Cyprus on a €47,000 bail on Friday following a weeklong detention after Turkish Cypriot police raided a house in Nicosia.
Sarris, 65, was detained under article 171 of the Criminal Code, which remains unchanged from the island’s British colonial rule and makes reference to “unnatural acts” with regards to homosexuality.
The former minister appeared in court on Friday charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, committing an act against the order of nature, and two separate incidents of incident assault, the Cyprus Mail reports.
The charges involve two unnamed youths, a 22-year-old man who failed to turn up to court, and a 16-year old boy. Police claim a 17-year-old who was arrested at the house in Nicosia alongside Sarris and a 29-year old man, had admitted to having sex with Sarris. But the teenager said he was beaten into a false confession.
Speaking after his release on bail, Sarris said in a statement: “It was a difficult ordeal for myself, my family and my co-workers following unsubstantiated charges.
“The complete lack of any sort of evidence, the medical examinations and the entire witness testimony demonstrate that there was absolutely no sort of crime or illegality,” Sarris added, the Cyprus Mail reports.
Under current legislation, a person found to have committed a gay “unnatural act” in the Turkish north of Cyprus could be jailed for up to five years. It remains the only area in Europe to consider homosexuality as illegal.
Marina Yannakoudakis, a Conservative MEP for London, protested against the ban on homosexuality in the region during a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu on Friday. Eroğlu made assurances that he was seeking an end to the ban and would sign this repeal into law.
Sarris is due to appear in the TRNC court on 16 November to face trial.