By Constantinos Psillides,
An environmental activist, charged with trespassing on private property with the aim of committing a criminal offence and malicious damage, was acquitted by Famagusta District last Friday.
Andrea Rutigliano, a Field Investigations Officer of the environmental organisation Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS), was sued by a Paralimni resident who claimed that on April 22, 2013, a man and a woman, illegally entered his orchard and deliberately set free 30 chickens from a chicken coop, costing him damages of €300.
After his acquittal, Rutigliano said: “We are happy we were found innocent by the Famagusta District Court and environmental justice was served. We welcome the decision of the Court, which ruled that the complainant’s claims were ill-founded, while at the same time questioned the credibility of the accusations.”
He added: “We will continue organizing and conducting bird protection camps every spring and autumn in Cyprus, until we ensure that this severe environmental crime of illegal, non-selective and large-scale trapping, killing and trade of protected wild birds in the island is effectively and finally tackled by the competent law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Cyprus”.
A CABS press release noted that this was not the first time CABS had run-ins with the complainant. In 2012, the same man was fined €650 for illegal possession of 30 protected wild birds in two aviaries. Rutigliano was one of the members of CABS, who located the two aviaries and tipped off the authorities.