Turkey: Harrassment of LGBT rights defenders
"What's really immoral is the Istanbul authorities' campaign against Lambda Istanbul for protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people," said Scott Long, director of the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. "The government should reform laws that allow officials to harass groups like Lambda Istanbul in order to guarantee everyone's human rights."
After a two-hour search the officers took a list of Lambda Istanbul's members, along with records of its decisions and other documents. The organization's property has still not been returned. Lambda Istanbul's attorney told Human Rights Watch that prosecutors informed him the group had been under surveillance since March 2008.
Lambda Istanbul has suffered harassment by the Turkish authorities since 2007, when the Istanbul Governor's Office demanded its closure, arguing the name and objectives of the group were offensive to Turkish "moral values and its family structure." The Prosecutor's Office rejected the complaint in July 2007, but the governor's office pursued the case to a higher court. After four hearings, the case is still pending.
Under human rights law, including the European Convention on Human Rights, which applies in Turkey, the Turkish authorities must guarantee freedom of association to all, without discrimination.
16 April 2008
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