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Police_Brutality_1

KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Anti-racism publicly denounces the attempt to cover up one more serious incident of human rights’ violation, concerning the illegal practice of ethnic and racial profiling and the arbitrary use of police violence against a recognized refugee by a member of the Cyprus Police Urgent Response Unit (MMAD) [1]. At the same time KISA calls upon the Attorney General of the Cyprus Republic to immediately investigate all vital questions that seem to arise from the findings of the criminal investigators of the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints against the Police (IAIACAP). Even though the findings have yet to be communicated to the complainant, they have been reported in a daily newspaper.

According to daily newspaper “Phileleftheros[2], the suspect police officer rightly and in the context of performing his duties proceeded to the verification of the complainant’s data. The complainant unjustifiably considered the check as racist behaviour and unjustifiably reacted to the policeman’s request for verification of his data.  The suspect police officer justifiably arrested the complainant on the flagrant offence of causing unrest. The fall of the complainant which resulted in his injury as well as the injury of the suspect, was caused solely by the complainant’s behaviour. From the study of the video in question no brutal behaviour on the part of the suspect police officer against the complainant is established, as the video shows the time during which the complainant falls to the ground when the suspect police officer was trying to handcuff him.

Additionally, the report claims that the alien who shot the video was sought but it has been found that he has left Cyprus”. At the same time the report says that the video in question does not reflect the true picture of the whole incident, as it focuses on a single scene and namely on the time of injury of the complainant and […] its disclosure through the internet has unjustifiably and maliciously exposed the Police Force and in extension the Cyprus Republic”. Based on the above, it is concluded that all the actions of the suspect police officer at the time of the complainant’s arrest were within the set framework of performing his duties” and suggests that “no criminal or disciplinary prosecution should be exercised against him”.

In the event that the above are indeed the findings of the report of the criminal investigators and IAIACAP, KISA questions the validity of the content of the finding and expresses its doubts concerning the independence of IAIACAP, for the following reasons:

  1. The finding of the criminal investigators and the IAIACAP, including the conclusions of the head of the criminal investigations, leaked to the press before the complainant or his lawyer were officially informed.
  2. IAIACAP considers that MMAD has the authority to carry out regular verification checks of aliens”, but without investigating as it seems the complaint for unjustifiable, irregular and illegal police ethnic and racial profiling practices [3].
  3. IAIACAP considers that it has the authority to judge whether a complainant unjustifiably considered a check against him as racist behaviour and unjustifiably reacted to the policeman’s demand for verification of his personal date”.
  4. It has not been possible to find the witness who shot the video, as it has been found that he has left Cyprus”, while he is still in Cyprus and as he has stated to KISA he is willing to testify, something which he has not so far asked to do.
  5. IAIACAP considers that the verbal, peaceful protest of a citizen about the way he is treated by the police constitutes “flagrant offence of causing unrest” to the degree that justifies his violent arrest to the point of causing of gross bodily injury.
  6. IAIACAP does not seem to have asked for the opinion of a specialist, who would scientifically document whether the serious injury of the complainant could be the result of his fall which resulted in his injury as well as that of the suspect”, as claimed by the police officer, rather than the use of force against him, as supported by the claimant.

The apex of the partiality of the IAIACAP is that it does not only evaluate but it actually reprobates the publication of this video through the internet, considering that it is actually this action that has unjustifiably and maliciously exposed the Police Force and in extension the Cyprus Republic” rather than the action of the specific police officer. As a matter of fact IAIACAP seems to proceed to the arbitrary conclusion that the Cyprus Police Force exposurewas malicious” and therefore on purpose and meaning deliberate harm.

Based on the above, KISA calls upon the Attorney General of the Cyprus Republic, if what has been published in the newspaper report is valid, either to refer the findings of the criminal investigators and IIACAP for review by independent criminal investigators, or to overrule it and proceed with the prosecution of the suspect police officer. Finally, KISA will proceed with all the necessary actions, including the exhaustion of judicial means, so as to prevent the hushing and cover up of this most serious incident and to secure justice against the irregular practice of ethnic and racial profiling and the arbitrary exercise of police violence, on the basis of bias motivation by the accused member of MMAD.

Notes for editors:

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