23/08/2023 | Writer: Selma Koçak

From the Report on LGBTI+’s Freedom of Expression and Association in İzmir in Pride Month 2023: The police, who threaten LGBTI+s they kept in the detention vehicle by insulting, shut their eyes to hate actions outside.

“The actions of law enforcement officers to prevent the exercise of rights are unlawful” Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Young LGBTI+ Association published the “Report on LGBTI+’s Freedom of Expression and Association in 2023 Pride Month in İzmir” last month.

In the section on the legal evaluation of the obstacles and interventions of the report, lawyer Mahmut Şeren lists the violated rights of LGBTI+s living in İzmir determined as a result of the observations made around the Pride March as follows:

“Law enforcement officers prevented visible use of pride flags during press releases by intimidating people with detention without any legal basis and without providing any justification.

Some events of the pride week and pride march, which are completely peaceful, were prevented by unlawful actions and operations despite the legal regulations and judicial decisions on similar situations in the past.

Law enforcement officers, attempted to turn LGBTI+s into usual suspects by checking criminal records of all people they suspected to be LGBTI+ at some landmarks around Alsancak on the day of the march, with a discriminatory motive. Moreover they asked people they stopped whether they were on their way to take part in pride march and put pressure on them by stating that the march was banned.

The pride march, which should not be prevented in any way, has been subjected to violation of rights not only because of the intervention but also because of the way it was carried out.

The law enforcement officers acted in contravention of the criteria for intervention in demonstrations. The police, who had to warn people more than twice in a way that everyone could hear, give people enough time to disperse, create a safety corridor for those who wanted to disperse and, who should not have used force against those who didn’t resist, didn’t comply with any of these criteria.   

The law enforcement officers, overstepped the limits of its authority to use force, which was described within the scope of the Article 16 of Law on Duties and Powers of Police.  

During the Pride March, in violation of the Criminal Procedure Code, some people were handcuffed despite the absence of legal conditions and some of them were handcuffed behind their backs, which is a well-known violation of human rights.

Law enforcement officers insulted and threatened detained people especially when they were kept in detention vehicles.

Although law enforcement officers should inform individuals arrested without a warrant promptly about their legal rights, they were not informed about their legal rights at any stage contrary to Article 90 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The medical examinations of detainees were not carried out “from head to toe” within the framework set out in the Manual on the Effective Investigation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (İstanbul Protocol).

In violation of Attorneyship Law No. 1136, four lawyers, who were in the field on the day of the Pride March, were arrested and kept in the detention vehicle until identification and medical examination were carried out, despite the fact that they stated that they were lawyers and they were able to present their identity cards.

Lawyers from the İzmir Bar Association and representatives of rights-based non-governmental organizations, who were present on the day of the Pride March in order to monitor and prevent violation of rights, were physically assaulted by law enforcement officers on several occasions and they were prevented from carrying out their duties.

No intervention was made and no investigation was launched against those, who used an anti-LGBTI+ hate speech in their protests targeting Pride Week events and tried to provoke LGBTI+s by coming to the event venues.

After the postponement of the Ege Pride Picnic, a press conference was held in front of the İzmir Bar Association and although this was an area belonging to the İzmir Bar Association, which is a public Professional organization, the police entered this area without permission and attacked the participants and the lawyers with physical violence.

About the report

A frame photographed by Kazım Kızıl on the day of the 2023 İzmir Pride March appears on the cover of the “Report on LGBTI+’s Freedom of Expression and Association in İzmir in Pride Month 2023”, which was prepared and designed by Barış Azar. The legal assessment at the end of the report was written by lawyer Mahmut Şeren. Berkcan Zengin, Murat Kocabaş, Ege Pride Picnic, Colors of Resistance, İzmir Bar Association, İzmir Pride March Committee, Kaos GL Association and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) are mentioned as the sources of the images and content of the report.

Tags: human rights