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Police_Brutality

 

KISA – Action for Equality, Support and Antiracism reports yet another incident of blatant violation of the human rights of the family of a European citizen, which is possibly the result of collusion between the Cypriot Police and the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD).

The case involves the family of D.M., who is a native of another country, has been living in Cyprus for 14 years and is married to a European citizen, with whom she shares a child, which is under three years old. In January 2013, D.M. filed a complaint to the Independent Authority for Investigation of Claims and Complaints against the Police (IAICCP) for arresting her illegally in front of her child, as well as for assault by a police officer from the Nicosia police department. Furthermore, D.M. was pregnant at the time, and miscarried a few days after the assault.  According to information we have received, the IAICCP has just completed a relevant report, whose findings may be linked directly to the recent developments, in an attempt by the police to avoid any possible consequences for officers who were involved.

On the 10/02/2014, members of the police force approached G.M., husband of D.M., while he was walking to his car, and they initially requested to inspect the relevant paperwork regarding ownership and circulation of his vehicle. Then, the police officers told him the construction tools in his car, which he possessed due to his occupation in the construction sector, could possibly be linked to thefts and so they proceeded to arrest both him and his brother who was accompanying him. Although the police officers then searched his home, where no evidence incriminating him was found, the two European citizens are being detained in the police detention facilities in Lakatamia, based on the decision made by the Head of the CRMD, with a view to deportation. It is also worth mentioning that they have neither been brought to trial for any offense, nor informed of the reasons for their deportation, as the law states.

On the 11/02/2014, D.M. visited her husband at the police detention facilities of Lakatamia, along with their underage child. Then, the police proceeded to arrest her in the presence of their child. Subsequently, Social Welfare Services (SWS) were called to take responsibility for the child. Despite the objections of SWS due to the young age of the child, the police insisted on detainment of the mother and the SWS proceeded to transfer the child to a foster family in the district of Nicosia. Thus far, there has been no contact between the child and his mother.

Additionally, D.M. was informed that she will be deported immediately, as their marriage was judged to be “invalid” by the Head of the CRMD. It is noteworthy to mention that the mother has a residence permit in Cyprus that is valid till 2018, that she was given after she presented a DNA certificate, that was illegally requested by the Head of the CRMD [1] and that proves the father of the child is her husband. The arrest and detainment of the mother also violates the legislation regarding the protection of motherhood, which states that pregnant women and mothers of children under three years of age cannot be imprisoned, unless they are judged to be “a danger to public security and/or other persons”. [2] Furthermore, in the specific case, the mother was not only arrested and detained, but, as she informed us herself, was threatened she will be deported without her child.

KISA highlights the following:

➢     The circumstances of arrest and detention of the particular couple are in direct contravention to the EU community acquis and the provisions of the harmonising legislation of the Republic of Cyprus.

➢     Additionally, the arrest of parents in the presence of their child, and forceful removal from their care also violates the Convention for the rights of children. [3]

➢     Finally, the arrest and detention of these particular persons may consist of punishable criminal actions on the part of the police, if they are relevant to the findings of the investigation of the IAICCP regarding the assault of the mother last year.

KISA requests:

  1. The immediate release of the particular persons.
  2. The immediate conduct of an independent and trustworthy investigation regarding the conditions and circumstances of arrests and the issue of orders for detention and deportation.
  3. The immediate publication of the report of the IAICCP regarding the arrest and assault of D.M. by members of the Cypriot Police force a year ago.

Notes to editors:


[1] Office of the Ombudsman for the Protection of Human Rights, «Annual Report of the Equality Authority for the year 2012: Chapter IV. Thematic evaluation of Actions – A. Human Rights Department – V. National Independent Authority for Human Rights – 3. Conducting a DNA test for migration purposes», p. 38-39. Access through website:

http://www.ombudsman.gov.cy/Ombudsman/Ombudsman.nsf/All/B63C0DB456EA3572C2257BFA00289DC9/$file/Book%20Grafeio%20Epitropou%202012%20GR.pdf?OpenElement

[2] The 2005 Law regarding Protection of Underage Children of Convicted or Suspect Mothers [33(Ι)/2005], «Article 3: Special arrangements for sentences depriving liberties in relation to mothers». Access via website: http://www.cylaw.com/nomoi/enop/non-ind/2005_1_33/full.html

[3] Convention for the Rights of Children, «Article 9: Life with parents» and «Article 22: Refugee children». Access via website: http://www.unicef.gr/reports/symb.php#22

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