He Was Jailed in Turkey for 20 Days Just Because He “Looked Gay”

On 25th June, Miguel Alvaro’s much-anticipated holiday in Istanbul took an unexpected and horrifying turn when he was arrested by the police merely for asking for directions! Here’s what happened.

The Aggressive Officers  

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Alvaro recounted the shocking incident, stating that the police officers used excessive force during his arrest.

Grabbed, Struck and Pushed 

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“They grabbed my arms, and I tried to free myself. One of them hit me in the ribs, they pushed me against a van, and they hit me on the shoulder, which started to bleed,” he said.

Arrested Because He Looked Gay

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His appearance seemed to be the primary reason for his arrest.

The officers thought he “looked gay.”

He said, “They thought I would participate in an unauthorized LGBTQ+ march that was going to take place nearby because I looked gay. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Stuck in a Police Van 

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For the next five hours, Alvaro found himself confined in a police van before being taken to the police station.

There, he was allegedly told that his detention was solely based on his appearance.

He Was Transferred

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The situation worsened as he was transferred to an immigration center, an environment that was far from humane.

The Threats 

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Alvaro reported encountering maggots crawling on the sheets, and he was subjected to threats from fellow inmates due to his supposed sexuality.

He Lived in Fear 

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Basic necessities like water were scarce, and he lived in constant fear.

He said he “hardly slept for fear of being attacked.”

He Made His Phone Call 

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Finally, after an agonizing wait, Alvaro was allowed to make his first phone call weeks later.

His Father Sought Help 

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He reached out to his father, who sought help from the Portuguese embassy to secure his release.

He Was Freed 

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On 12th July, twenty days after his arrest, Alvaro was finally freed.

He Expressed His Feelings 

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He expressed feelings of disappointment, mental exhaustion, and shattered emotions but was relieved to be returning to a safer environment.

This harrowing experience prompted Alvaro to share a stern warning to others, especially the LGBTQ+ community, about visiting Turkey.

Homophobic Attacks 

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Although being gay is not illegal in Turkey, the LGBTQ+ community has faced increasing hostility over the years.

Senior politicians, religious leaders, and retailers have launched verbal attacks on the community, fostering an unwelcome and unsafe environment for queer individuals.

Pride Events Were Banned 

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The situation has escalated to the extent that Pride events have been systematically banned in Turkey since 2015.

Social Media Users Shared Their Views

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Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.

One Reddit user wrote, “It’s completely disgraceful and disgusting that a man gets jailed AS A TOURIST and asks for help from their government and the government ignores it.”

Another User wrote, “It’s funny how people go to visit these countries with half to zero human rights safety and they think they are going to be ok.”

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The post He Was Jailed in Turkey for 20 Days Just Because He “Looked Gay” first appeared on Career Step Up

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Yevhen Prozhyrko. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

Source: The Pink News

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