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Watchdog official calls for speedier process to protect LGBTI prisoner (Cyprus Mail)

Watchdog official calls for speedier process to protect LGBTI prisoner
Cyprus Mail
17 December 2020

OMBUDSWOMAN Maria Stylianou-Lottides has urged the justice ministry to look into speeding up actions to support a transfer request from a member of the LGBTI community to serve out, the remainder of their prison term in Nicosia prisons.

The call is contained in a report published on the ombudswoman's website and forwarded to the attorney-general, the foreign ministry and the Cypriot embassy in the country where the individual is serving time.

The issue was brought to Lottides' attention by a lawyer acting on behalf of the petitioner's family.

The individual is currently serving three years in jail abroad and wishes to serve the remainder of the sentence in Cyprus, she said. The name of the applicant and lawyer as well as of the country in which the person is now serving jail have been redacted from the public version of the report.


Lottides said that embassy officials visit the applicant twice a week in prison, and consultations have also been held with the government of the host country with which Cyprus has an agreement for the transfer of prisoners since 1992.

This allows for convicts wishing to serve the rest of their time in prison in their own country to lodge an application to do so, provided they are citizens, the court decision is final and does not concern drugs, among other criteria.

With this case in mind, the ombudswoman said that she wanted to once again state her concerns as regards the problems facing LGBTI individuals who are particularly vulnerable in detention facilities because of possible discriminatory treatment due to their sexual orientation.

The main issue is ensuring protection from sexual abuse and rape and other assaults from detainees, she said.

Detained or imprisoned trans individuals in particular are to a significantly
greater extent exposed to violence from personnel and other detainees, she said.

Given the applicant's request to be transferred to Cyprus, as a person belonging to a vulnerable group, Lottides suggested that the justice ministry speed up actions in this direction.