By Peter Stevenson
A THIRD police sergeant from the secret service (KYP) was suspended on Monday after surveillance files were found in his home in Larnaca with reports suggesting it could be connected to a multi-million land deal involving the telecoms authority CyTA.
According to reports, the files relate to the surveillance of high-ranking politicians. The chief of police has ordered a criminal and disciplinary investigation.
“I can confirm the 45-year-old sergeant from the secret service has been suspended and that a criminal and disciplinary investigation will take place,” police spokesman Andreas Angelides said.
He added that the archives content would be studied thoroughly although he could not comment on what led the police to search the 45-year-old’s home.
Since President Nicos Anastasiades came to power, he has given clear instructions and orders to KYP to only deal with matters that have to do with national security, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said.
“Safeguarding democratic freedoms and rights is the essence of the government’s political philosophy. There is no question of the secret service monitoring political activities, parties or persons,” he said.
Ruling DISY condemned the actions. “The state’s secret service should be committed to keeping an eye on our enemies and safeguarding the state and not violating the civil rights of citizens,” DISY said.
The party called on a full investigation to take place and for the names of the politicians or the groups watched by KYP be publicised.
“DISY expects the new government and the new leadership of the secret service to instill confidence in the security services,” the party said.
Speaking on Sunday, the Green Party’s general secretary Giorgos Perdikis said: “The practice which the secret services have been following for years of keeping a close eye on political parties and politicians is unacceptable and if they continue then it is truly disgusting”.
Following a meeting of the party’s central committee at Governor’s Beach, in a veiled attack on AKEL, Perdikis questioned whether it was the previous government’s ruling party which approved the move.
“We need to know how and who, according to the information which has been released, has decided to keep this information a secret,” he said. “We respect sensitive private information but we expect to be fully debriefed and we expect a discussion on this subject at parliament,” he concluded.
In response, AKEL’s spokesman Giorgos Loucaides said the party was not surprised that certain political parties and the media were blaming the previous government without having any official information.
“AKEL is reiterating its stance that it condemns the surveillance by intelligence services of politicians and parties and any other actions that are not connected to national and public safety,” Loucaides said.
Police sergeants, Costas Miamiliotis, 40, and Lefteris Mouskos, 53, members of KYP had their remand renewed for another six days last Wednesday in connection with the CyTA-Dromolaxia land deal.