Three members of far-right group ELAM were on Friday released from custody after the court denied a police request that the suspects be remanded over the violent disturbances in Limassol on Wednesday evening.
The police had asked the court to remand in custody the three suspects – aged 25, 30 and 39 – for six days. The three had been arrested on Thursday – a full day after the incident – on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime, conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour, disturbing the peace and assaulting a police officer.
In court today, police argued that the continued detention of the three was vital to ongoing investigations into Wednesday’s events. Police claimed that dozens more arrests were on the way.
But the Limassol district court was unconvinced, finding the police’s arguments to be “unclear and vague.” It ordered the immediate release of the three suspects.
The court’s ruling was welcomed with applause in the courtroom by members of ELAM and friends and relatives of the suspects.
During the remand hearing, the suspects’ lawyer sought to impart political undertones to the case, arguing that there was no hard evidence against the suspects, who were being singled out by authorities because they were members of a particular organisation.
On Wednesday evening some 70 members of the ELAM outfit stormed a Cyprus problem talk in Limassol attended by former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
They managed to enter the lobby and hurled a flare inside the hall. A Turkish Cypriot journalist who tried to take photos was slightly injured when scuffles broke out with police whose presence at the event was inadequate.