Cyprus - Age of Sexual Consent
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CYPRUS - SARS
Update 07-2002: This is a major change:
Controversial age of consent bill is passed
By George Psyllides (Cyprus Mail on-line, 12 July 2002)
THE HOUSE yesterday approved more than 50 bills, including the controversial law raising
the age of consent for heterosexuals to 17, while a further 31 were withdrawn by the
The age of consent for heterosexuals was raised to 17 in an effort to abolish any
discrimination between homosexuals and heterosexuals.
The House had initially planned last week to reduce the age of consent for homosexual
males to 16 from 18, to bring it into line with legislation on heterosexuals.
But the House Legal Affairs Committee decided instead to raise the age of consent for
heterosexuals to 17, to avoid having to reduce the age for homosexuals to 16.
On Wednesday both the state legal service and deputies were unable to say what the
implications of raising the legal age of consent for heterosexuals would be, since it
would make it illegal for anyone under 17 to have sex.
In essence it means that as from today, anyone having sexual relations with a 16-year-old
will be committing a criminal offence.
The compromise law is the result of intense pressure exerted on Cyprus by the European
Union to abolish discrimination between homosexuals and heterosexuals.
Homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1998, five years after gay activist Alecos
Modinos won his battle at the European Court of Human Rights, which condemned Cyprus over
its poor treatment of homosexuals.
The House also approved stiff sentences regarding sexual intercourse with minors
According to the new law, any attempt to have sex with a person under 13 is punishable
by up to 13 years in jail, while full intercourse can lead to life in prison.
Intercourse with a person aged between 13 and 17 is now punishable by up to three years in
The plenum passed more than 50 other bills out of a total of 108, while 31 were withdrawn
by the government.
More than 10 bills were deemed incomplete and were either referred back to the relevant
House committees or to the July 25 plenary session, which will be the last before the
There will be no plenary session next week, although the House will convene in a special
session on Monday, July 15, for its annual condemnation of the 1974 coup and subsequent
The final session on July 25 is expected to discuss a plethora of bills concerning EU
Homophobic MPs make a mountain of a molehill
Opinion - By a Staff Reporter
IN THE END, instead of lowering the age of consent for homosexuals from 18 to 16 years of
age, so that it would be the same as that for heterosexuals, the legislature opted for a
different formula. It lowered the age for homosexuals to 17 and raised the age for
heterosexuals to 17, so nobody can accuse the Cyprus state of discrimination against gays.
Attorney-general Alecos Markides had hinted at this solution in an interview with this
paper several months ago, when he hinted that the age of consent for heterosexuals could
(see: http://www.cyprus-mail.com/July/10/news5.htm )
The issue of having the same age of consent for everyone had been shelved by the political
parties, which did not want to alienate the small but vociferous anti-gay lobby. However
last Thursday it became an issue of great urgency, as the chairman of the House Legal
Affairs Committee tried to persuade the plenum to vote through the changes in the law on
that day. As a compromise, the parties agreed to debate the bill this Thursday, the last
session of the legislature before it breaks for the summer recess. This sudden urgency is,
undoubtedly, linked with Cyprus' EU accession course -- the island has repeatedly come
under attack from European politicians for its laws which did not accord the same rights
It has become quite clear that passing the law, given the EU pressure, cannot be delayed
for any longer.
The immaturity displayed by the political parties on the issue of homosexuality defies
belief. They all dragged their feet over the decriminalisation of homosexuality, only
agreeing to pass the bill when it was absolutely necessary, after the government, which
had assured the EU that the bill would be passed, pleaded with them to spare it further
embarrassment. The new law, eventually passed in 1998, caused maximum offence to gays by
making reference to "unnatural licentiousness", a phrase that was grudgingly
removed two years later.
Exactly the same has occurred with the changing of the age of consent. The political
parties have known that it had to be done for at least a couple of years, but they put it
off until they could postpone it no longer; last Thursday was the third time the bill had
been submitted. Once again they came up with the same excuse they used in 1998 -- we had
to do it because of the EU -- thus absolving themselves of any responsibility, lest they
lose the homophobe vote. Not a single deputy had the courage to stand up and say that the
bill was being passed because in a democratic and liberal society gays cannot be
discriminated against by the law, but should have the same rights as heterosexuals. Why
did nobody mention that this was clearly a case of respect for human rights? This way,
they would have brought home the fact that this was an issue of principle, and encouraged
The truth is that there was no strong popular opposition to the decriminalisation of
homosexuality, and nor is there to lowering the age of consent. The few dozen fanatics who
turn up to the legislature to oppose these bills can hardly be described as a cross
section of Cypriot society. The overwhelming majority of ordinary people seem to have no
problem with changing the law. It is our homophobic deputies who have made a big issue out
of what should have been a routine matter, causing unnecessary embarrassment for Cyprus in
the European Union.
176. Section 153 provides the following:
"153. (1) Any person who unlawfully and carnally knows a
female under the age of 13 years is guilty of a felony and
is liable to imprisonment for life.
"(2) Any person who attempts to have unlawful carnal
knowledge of a female under the age of 13 years is guilty
of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for three
177. Section 154 provides that the unlawful carnal knowledge
of a woman or the attempt to have carnal knowledge of a woman
between the ages of 13 and 16 years is punishable as a
misdemeanour. It is, however, a defence to such a charge if it
is proved to the court that the accused had reasonable cause to
believe that the woman was of or above the age of 16 years.
As you seem to be seeking URLs for the history of gay law reform
in Cyprus, here are a couple.
Alan (in Brussels)
Gay rights activist welcomes amendment to homosexuality law
By Jean Christou 10 June 2000
GAY rights activist Alecos Modinos yesterday welcomed parliament's amendment of offensive
terms in the law legalising homosexuality, but criticised the delay in changing the
two-year-old legislation. When the law decriminalising homosexuality between
consenting adults was passed in May 1998, after a five-year battle, deputies left in a
reference to "unnatural licentiousness", which the gay community objected to.
It has taken the House another two years to amend the offending term, which they
replaced with the phrase "intercourse between men" at Thursday's plenum. Many
deputies left the floor during the vote, because of the controversial nature of the
homosexual issue. Archbishop Chrysostomos said yesterday he had not been aware
of the change, but said he regretted the House had taken this turn. Modinos, an architect,
said yesterday what counted was that the EU [actually, Council of Europe, the pan-european
organisation behind the European Convention on Human Rights, see www.coe.int - Alan] would
not accept the law because it was full of discriminatory terms. "It did not put
the homosexual person on an equal footing with the heterosexual. I hope that with this
amendment homosexuals will be dealt with
as equals and as first class citizens like the rest of the population, and that only the
criminals will be punished, whether they are homosexuals or heterosexuals," Modinos
said. "I think its a shame for Cyprus to be tarnished because a team of
did not sit for five years from 1993 to 1998 to study and understand what it's all about
and still talk today about unnatural licentiousness, which is a negative term
and stops the integration of homosexuals into society." But one of the two
deputies who remained at the plenum to vote against the change said yesterday he believed
there were more important issues. Disy deputy Evangelos Sammoutas said Europe could
not turn a blind eye to Turkey's human rights record and at the same time insist that
Cyprus change its law on homosexuality. "It's not such an important
thing," he said. "Two years ago, we were asked to vote on the law which we
argued about. We used words that are Greek and now we're asked to change that to
intercourse. We know the meaning of the second word but we also we know the meeting of the
first." The law, which outlawed homosexuality between consenting male adults, was
only amended in 1998 after five years of stalling and several ultimatums
from the Council of Europe in the wake of the successful case to the European Court of
Human Rights brought by Modinos against Cyprus.
PlanetOut, 16 June 2000
( www.planetout.com )
Cyprus Rewords Sodomy Law
After gay activist Alecos Modinos won a legal challenge to Cyprus' sodomy law in the
European Court of Human Rights, it took five stormy years before the parliament in May
1998 grudgingly decriminalized private non-commercial homosexual acts between consenting
adults -- and two more years before the parliament removed the offensive phrase
"unnatural licentiousness." The final move came June 8, when the House of
Deputies revised the phrase to "intercourse between men," but even so a
substantial number of deputies walked out rather than participate in the vote.
Modinos told the Cyprus Mail that the discriminatory language in the 1998 statute did not
meet European Union standards and stopped the integration of
homosexuals into society. He said the 1998 law "did not put the homosexual person on
an equal footing with the heterosexual. I hope that with this amendment homosexuals will
be dealt with as equals and as first class citizens like the rest of the population, and
that only the criminals will be punished, whether they are homosexuals or
CYPRUS LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexuals and
16 for lesbians and heterosexuals. Homosexual activity in public or with someone
under 18 can be punished with up to 5 years imprisonment.
2. Homosexuals are banned from the military on (health) grounds.
Cyprus - Chypre - Chipre Nicosia
I. Ages for legal purposes
Age of simple majority
This is not established by a specific law, but every law concerning children specifies its
own legal age.
Age of consent for sexual activity
According to sections 153 and 154 of the criminal code CAP. 154, sexual intercourse with a
under sixteen (16) years of age is an offence regardless of her own consent.
Age of consent for marriage
A) According to Section 12 of the Marriage Law CAP. 279 as amended by Law 150/91, consent
parent(s)/guardian is required when persons under the age of eighteen (18) are concerned.
B) According to the Constitution of the church of Cyprus, the legal age for marriage is 18
age. However exceptional cases may be examined by the church for the permission of
under the age of eighteen (18).
Section 144 of the Criminal Code CAP.154
" Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a female, without her consent, or
consent, if the consent is obtained by force or fear of bodily harm, or, in the case of a
woman, by personating her husband, is guilty of the felony termed rape. "
Section 145 of the Criminal Code CAP. 154
" Any person who commits the offence of rape is liable to imprisonment for life.
Section 146 of the Criminal Code CAP. 154
" Any person who attempts to commit rape is guilty of felony, and is liable to
imprisonment for ten years. "
III. Other forms of child sex abuse
Incest, Section 147 of the Criminal Code CAP. 154
" Any male person who has carnal knowledge of a female person, irrespective of
whether with the
consent or not of such female person, who is to his knowledge his granddaughter, daughter,
or mother shall be guilty of the offence of incest and shall be liable to imprisonment for
Unnatural offences with a child under thirteen (13) , Section 174 of the
Criminal Code CAP. 154
" Any person who has, or attempts to have, with or without violence, carnal knowledge
of a child
under thirteen (13) years of age against the order of nature is guilty of a felony and is
imprisonment for fourteen years. "
a) Indecent assault on females.
Section 151 of the Criminal Code CAP. 154 :
" Any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults any female is guilty of a
b) Indecent assault on males.
Section 152 of the Criminal Code CAP. 154:
" Any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults any male person is guilty of
Defilement of girls under thirteen (13) years of age, Section 153 of the
Criminal Code CAP. 154
" (1) Any person who unlawfully and carnally knows a female under the age of thirteen
(13) years is
guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life.
(2) Any person who attempts to have unlawful carnal knowledge of a female under the age of
thirteen (13) years is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for three
Defilement of girls between thirteen (13) and sixteen (16) years of age,
Section 154 of the Criminal Code CAP. 154
" Any person who unlawfully and carnally knows or attempts to have unlawful carnal
of any female person of, or above, the age of thirteen (13) years and under the age of
years is guilty of a misdemeanour :
Provided that it shall be a sufficient defence to any charge under this section if it
shall be made to
appear to the Court before which the charge shall be brought that the person so charged
reasonable cause to believe that the female person was of, or above, the age of sixteen
I was rather disappointed when i noticed that you had not included the
autonomous state existing in Cyprus.
As you should know, in Cyprus there is an autonomous state which has the
luxury one might say, of implementing its own laws through their own
parliament. The autonomous state is called
The Sovereign and Autonomous Republic of SHA (SARS- for short).
The min. age of having heterosexual sex in the SARS is that of 15.
The min. age of having a homosexual (male-male) is that of 15 also.
The min. age of having a homosexual (female-female) is that of 16.
It seems that the citizens of the SARS have a more modern and mature
atitude towards sex, hence the laws I have stated above.
Could you kindly update your table.
Legislation against child sex tourism
The rights of the children are protected by:
- The Children Law KAP/352
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child 243/90
[EDITOR: The only information we have received about Cyprus]
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 17:56:12 +0200
Cyprus had the gay law repealed in May 1998. Gay sex is now legal for males 18 and up.
Please update your chart.