By Stefanos Evripidou
AKEL LEADER Andros Kyprianou on Wednesday called on the government and others “not to rush to draw conclusions” after it transpired he had passed on alleged evidence of summer military camps organised by far right extremists which include photographs of people playing paintball.
Following the murder of a left-wing activist in Greece and the subsequent prosecution of a number of far right Golden Dawn members, including members of the Greek parliament, Kyprianou handed over to Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou last month evidence allegedly depicting the far right group in Cyprus ELAM carrying out armed military exercises.
On Monday evening, in an interview with CyBC, President Nicos Anastasiades said the investigations had revealed that the guns pictured in the photographs delivered by the AKEL leader were used for gaming purposes.
He made it clear that if it was found that ELAM mirrored the kind of activities linked with Golden Dawn in Greece, or were trained in the way Golden Dawn members are trained, then the authorities would not hesitate to declare it an illegal organisation.
Until now, the evidence in the hands of the authorities does not depict such a picture, he said.
The president also questioned why the pictures, taken in 2010 during an AKEL government, were not investigated at the time.
Phileleftheros yesterday published an article saying that police had identified the people and locations in the photographs, concluding that they were playing a war game with replica guns and were not connected to the anti-migrant party ELAM.
The location, according to the report, is an abandoned commandos’ army camp in Machairas.
Asked to comment on Wednesday, Kyprianou called on the president and justice minister “not to rush to draw conclusions”.
He accused Anastasiades of rushing to say that the evidence he handed over and the investigation underway did not reveal anything reprehensible or illegal.
The AKEL leader said he spoke on Wednesday morning with the head of the police investigation into the matter, who told him that the investigations are nowhere near over and that “the picture formed from the findings to date far from reflect the president’s statement”.
The investigations are continuing, important evidence has been found, and they await their completion to make a final conclusion, he said.
Kyprianou noted that he himself had told the minister that some of the photographic material handed over contains military exercises with the use of paintball guns.
“This is not something new for me.”
He urged everyone to wait for the investigations to finish before drawing conclusions on the matter.
Asked to comment on the statement by Anastasiades that the previous AKEL government never bothered to investigate the pictures when they were taken, he said: “To me it sounds a bit weird if the president said such a thing. It’s not important when the photographic material was taken but whether these things constitute illegal activities or not.”
He said he had asked the police to investigate the matter at the time. Just because it didn’t happen, this should not be used as an argument for not doing it today, he added.
Shouldn’t the president be concerned by the fact that ELAM itself has admitted it considers itself the Golden Dawn of Cyprus and order an in-depth investigation, he asked.