Cyprus Police Returns Paola Revenioti's Pictures to Accept-LGBT Cyprus and Withdraws Charges of Publication of Lewd Content
Cyprus Police have returned on the 9thof January 2015, the photographs confiscated from Paola Revenioti’s exhibition «Correction». The exhibition was organised by Accept- LGBT Cyprus and was held on the occasion of the international Transgender Day of Remembrance.
For the same case, the President of the Organisation, Costa Gavrielides, was officially accused for “Publication of Lewd Content", charges that were also dropped following a decision of the Law Office of the Republic.
In a letter to Accept – LGBT Cyprus, the Assistant Attorney General stated that all appropriate recommendations have been made to the police “to prevent demonstrations of such excessive zeal in similar cases in the future, as happened in this case, in a way that might be called into question, because of police actions, the unhindered enjoyment of constitutional and democratic rights guaranteed to citizens, such as the right of artistic freedom.”
Similar to that, was also the reaction of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights, who stated in her report that: "The act of dismantling the artworks was an unnecessary, disproportionate and repressive measure."
The incident caused an outcry of the Cypriot public opinion and especially that of the artistic community, who were making direct accusations to the police through their statements, for violation of the freedom of expression and in this particular case, that of artistic expression, that is essential in any modern democratic society.
International media and organisations also argued the deposition. In a letter to the Minister of Justice and Public Order Ionas Nicolaou, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) confirmed their support for the local organisation, pointing out that “The impression that this intervention was specifically targeted at Accept-LGBT Cyprus – the only LGBTI organisation in Cyprus – is difficult to dispose of, and the question whether there would have been a similar intervention if the same exhibition were organised by a different kind of organisation remains unanswered.”
Although Accept-LGBT Cyprus never received an official apology on behalf of the Cyprus Police for the uncalled-for incident, the organisation hopes that the event will force the state to revise the laws provoking such incidents, as per the recommendations of the Commissioner of Administration, and that it will take appropriate measure on a legal level.
It should be stressed that the exhibition was inaugurated on the 20th of November, on the occasion of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, at Nicosia’s Municipal Market with the permission of the Municipality of Nicosia, aiming to raise awareness towards the human rights of trans people. To this, the exhibition was showcasing photographs of the famous Greek trans activist Paola Revenioti, as well as screenings of her documentary titled “Kaliarnta” that portrays through testimonials the history of the Greek LGBT community.
Accept-LGBT Cyprus would like to express its deep gratitude to all those who supported it with their statements and/or their stance on the matter, including AKEL, Nicosia Municipal Arts Center (Associated with Pierides Foundation [NiMAC]), Organisation of Cyprus Visual Artists (ΕΙ.ΚΑ), Equality Movement, “Stiriksis” Support, Anti-racism (ΚΙΣΑ) the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) in Brussels, and all those who namely or anonymously reacted and stood by the organisation. Accept-LGBT would also like to thank the curator of the exhibition Mr. Christos Kyriakides and of course Ms. Paola Revenioti herself, for her exceptional cooperation and understanding.
Accept – LGBT Cyprus