Modinos v. Cyprus  | 1993

Decriminalisation of homosexuality after architect wins case in Strasbourg

I never felt I was a criminal . . . So, I thought something must be done.

Alecos Modinos, interview with the Council of Europe - © Photo: Council of Europe



For decades, Cypriot law criminalised homosexual relationships between men, with a minimum penalty of a five-year jail term.

Alecos Modinos was an architect. He had an ongoing relationship with another man. Alecos suffered from strain, apprehension and fear of prosecution, due to the criminalisation of his personal relationship. 

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The European court ruled that the ban on homosexual relationships in Cyprus amounted to an unjustified interference in peoples’ private lives. It violated their basic rights. 

…we had the antiquated, Victorian, colonial law of 1885. I was a criminal.

Alecos Modinos, interview with the Council of Europe


In 1998, Cyprus decriminalised male homosexual conduct carried out in private between consenting adults.