EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/65/93
UA 221/93 Prisoner of Conscience/Degrading Treatment 8 July 1993
TURKEY: Hüseyin Kuskaya
and 28 conference delegates from abroad
Amnesty International is concerned about the arbitrary detention of gay rights
activists Hüseyin Kuskaya, Cem Özipek and Onur Sarvaut as well as 28 supporters
of homosexual rights from abroad. Amnesty International believes that they
were detained solely by reason of their advocacy of homosexual equality and
their real or presumed sexual orientation. The organization is also concerned
about the humiliating and degrading treatment which some of the above mentioned
individuals faced while in detention.
There is concern about the legal situation and treatment of the three Turkish
activists. Though Hüseyin Kuskaya and Onur Sarvaut have now been released,
Cem Özipek continues to be held in police custody.
Amnesty International is concerned that these detentions represent a serious
deterioration of the human rights situation of homosexuals in Turkey and those
seeking to stand up for their rights. As such there is need for rapid action
to bring international concern to the attention of the Turkish authorities
over the situation of the three Turkish citizens initially detained and the
future treatment of people who advocate respect for the rights of homosexuals
The first Congress of Homosexual Solidarity was to be held in Istanbul during
the weekend of 2-6 July 1993. However, after initial permission from the Interior
Ministry, the congress was reportedly banned at the last minute by the Governor
of Istanbul on the grounds that it would be contrary to the "traditions and
moral values" of Turkish society and that it might disturb the peace. On 3
July delegates who were planning to attend the conference decided to hold a
press conference in protest at the ban. The three people named above were
detained before the press conference, while the majority of the foreign
delegates were detained on their way to the press conference; the remaining
delegates were detained at their hotel.
The Turkish detainees were Hüseyin Kuskaya, chair of the organising committee
of the conference, Cem Özipek and Onur Sarvaut. No details are available on
their treatment in custody.
Police initially took the foreign detainees to a local police station and said
they would be strip searched. When they protested this was not carried out.
They were then held in a police bus for most of the day, until other delegates
had been brought from their hotel. They were then taken to Istanbul airport