15.12.22 - Keeping Trans People in Solitary Confinement is a Violation of Rights and is Unacceptable
The case of a transgender individual, which the Human Rights Platform has been closely following together with Queer Cyprus Association and has been providing legal aid, was concluded yesterday. Within the scope of the project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Human Rights Platform Association, legal aid has been provided to the person who was detected with a personal-use drug substance in their possession while crossing from the southern part of Cyprus to the northern part. Legal aid has been provided by the Human Rights Platform since October , in order to prevent discrimination due to their gender identity and to ensure their equal access to human rights.
On 13 December 2022, the Human Rights Platform lawyer Yağmur İzcan raised the issue that the defendant spent their detention period in isolation conditions on the grounds that their safety could not be ensured in prison due to their transgender status, and the court committee ordered the issue to be investigated and the necessary action to be taken. This decision is a very important decision for transgenders who have been subjected to solitary confinement in the past and will prevent such violations in the future.
President Fadıl Aksun, Senior Judge Vedia Barkın and Judge Murat Soytaç of the Nicosia High Criminal Court explained this unanimous decision as follows:
"If the defendant was kept in solitary confinement solely because of their sexual orientation or being a transgender person (in order to ensure their own safety) as stated by their lawyer, this would mean that the defendant was punished for nothing, which is a gross violation of rights. This situation (if it’s true) is against both the fundamental rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights, which is part of our law, and the rules of equality and protection of personal rights and freedoms regulated by our Constitution. This is an unacceptable practice in a state of law and must definitely be corrected. Therefore, the Ministry of Interior, to which the Central Prison is affiliated, should be informed about the issue and if the above allegations are found to be true, it will be necessary to take the necessary action."
As the Human Rights Platform and Queer Cyprus Association, we would like to state that we welcome this decision and we expect the responsible bodies to take immediate action. We wish to underline that we are ready to contribute to any effort that will take measures to prevent all sorts of discriminatory practices and will follow the concerned case as well as detention conditions of trans individuals closely.