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Turkey's 'pink prison'

LGBT organizations strongly oppose a prison being built for LGBT inmates, who often end up in solitary confinement for reasons of security, which is illegal.
Turkish gay rights group (LAMBDA) activists wave peace flags infront of a mosque in Istanbul on March 16, 2010 during a demonstration against Family Affairs Minister Aliye Selma Kavaf. Some 60 activists denounced Kavaf and called for her resignation, as they accuse the Family Affairs Minister of insult, incitement to crime and incitement to enmity and hate -- crimes which are punishable by up to two, five and three years in jail respectively.  Kavaf, who is also women's minister in the Islamist-rooted gover
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Rosida Koyuncu, 26, is an ex-convict and a homosexual. During 21 months in jail, he was mistreated by prison staff and attacked by fellow inmates. To escape the abuse, he spent five months in solitary confinement, just like dozens of other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inmates in Turkish prisons. LGBT individuals often end up in solitary confinement after being issued medical reports diagnosing them as sick or when facing the threat of violence and sexual harassment.

According to the Justice Ministry, 79 LGBT individuals are currently imprisoned. The actual number, however, is likely higher, as the ministry figure is believed to include only acknowledged, man-to-woman transsexuals, and many homosexuals conceal their sexual orientation. Turkey only provides separate wards for transsexuals in facilities in Istanbul, Ankara and Corum. In other places, transsexuals who have obtained a (pink) female national ID card are put in women’s wards, while those who have (blue) male ID cards are housed in men’s wards. Homosexuals are assigned to wards according to their gender.

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