KISA, one week after the bomb attack against its offices, is facing a new one, this time by the prosecuting authorities.
On 2 August 2019, KISA officials and staff, including its then Executive Director, Doros Polykarpou, as well as several neighbours, heard loud voices outside the organisation’s offices and came out to see what was happening.
Coming out of the offices they saw a police officer, known from other occasions, for his ruthless and inappropriate behaviour (https://youtu.be/GjFRsIbUuFE ), standing on the side of the road with a young motorcyclist, whom he had apparently stopped for traffic control. Mr Polykarpou approached the scene and, while the officer was on the radio checking the young person’s details, he asked the young man, who appeared to be a minor, what had happened, how old he was and where he was from. The young man replied that he was riding without insurance and a helmet, adding that he was from Romania and 16 years old. Mr. Polykarpou told him not to worry and to call his father since he was a minor.
The police officer then concluded his conversation on the radio and immediately asked Mr Polykarpou in a strong tone to leave the scene. When Mr Polykarpou replied that he had the right to remain at the spot and watch what was going on, the police officer replied that he was under arrest. He was then taken in handcuffs to the Nicosia Central Police Station, where he was charged with Obstructing a Police Officer in violation of Article 244(b) of the Criminal Code. Initially the police also charged him with attempting to evade lawful arrest but then dropped the charge.
After a hearing on 21.12.2023, the court fully accepted as credible the testimony of the police officer and found Mr Polykarpou guilty of obstructing the police officer in the performance of his duties, an offence that, according to the Criminal Code, carries a maximum two-year prison sentence. This sentence is not automatically imposed since, as per Article 29 of the Criminal Code, the court has the discretion to impose a shorter prison sentence or a fine. The sentence will be announced by the court on 15.01.2024. The sentencing hearing will be attended by the Vice Chair of ENAR Ms Anne Nolan, Mr Moussa Sangare , ENAR Board Member and Dr. Emmanuel Achiri, Policy Expert on migration and law enforcement from ENAR Secretariat expressing their solidarity in view of another criminal prosecution against KISA activists.
KISA considers that this new development is another episode of the ongoing attempt of the state and prosecution authorities, among many other tools they have used so far, to intimidate KISA and its members through the criminalization of its members’ actions, in order to limit or even stop the organisation’s action for the protection of human rights in Cyprus. It is noted that to date Mr Polykarpou has been prosecuted in several different cases in connection with his actions as a KISA official and activist and has been acquitted after hearing processes in all cases.
D. Polykarpou apart from supporting a minor who was de facto exposed to inappropriate and violent for his age behaviour during the investigation of possible traffic offenses, neither disturbed nor obstructed the work of the police officer in question.
It should be noted that this police officer has repeatedly displayed violent and inappropriate behaviour towards young people of a migratory background. In fact, KISA had made a complaint against him to ADIPA (Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints against the Police) a few months before this incident for similar behaviour during the pride march that took place on 01.06.2019 in Nicosia. D. Polycarpou was an eyewitness to the incident along with other KISA members.
KISA declares that, based on the assessment of its legal advisors, it will proceed with an appeal against the decision of 21.12.2023 to convict Doros Polykarpou, regardless of the sentence imposed by the Court on 15.01.2024.