Euromed Rights Search

Denouncing imam’s homophobic comments could land lawyers in jail

28 Sep 2021

28 September 2021: It was reported on 28 September that a group of 11 lawyers from the Ankara Bar Association who issued a statement condemning a prominent imam’s homophobic and hateful speech risk being sentenced to up to two years behind bars. In April 2020, the imam, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, said that the spread of HIV is a result of sex outside of marriage and homosexuality, and incited Muslims to “join the fight to protect people from such evil,” according to Human Rights Watch. The lawyers are being investigated on the grounds of “insulting religious values,” which is criminalised in the Penal Code.

See Turkish Minute, September 2021; Human Rights Watch, May 2020 and Amnesty International, May 2020.