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Crime

Minister’s plan to segregate gay prisoners in Turkish jails alarms human rights activists

Joseph McCormick April 15, 2014
Gay prisoner: File photo of a prisoner.

File photo of a prisoner. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Human rights activists have expressed alarm at the announcement of plans to build separate prisons for gay prisoners in Turkey.

The “protecting convicts” measure was introduced by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, who said it was intended to protect LGBT inmates from attacks or harassment while in jail.

“Projects are under way for the construction of separate penitentiaries to house inmates with divergent sexual orientations,” Bozdag wrote in a response on the Turkish Parliament’s website.

The statement was published earlier this month, but only sparked debate this week, after the politician who asked an original question about the safety of LGBT inmates raised concerns over the measure.

Many criticised the measure, despite reports that the measure was backed by around half of Turkey’s population.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, but it remains taboo.

LGBT inmates are often placed in solitary confinement by prison staff who are themselves homophobic or transphobic, or who simply don’t know how to handle anti-LGBT discrimination.

Many argued that the segregation of LGBT inmates legitimises homophobic and transphobic views.

More: Africa, Egypt, Egypt, jail, LGBT, prison, Prisons, segregation

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