Cyprus Mail

Former top cop sues president

Michalis Papageorgiou

By George Psyllides

THE former chief of police Michalakis Papageorgiou has appealed against his dismissal and is suing the president because he sacked him without prior investigation.

Papageorgiou wants the decision for his termination reversed and is demanding up to €500,000 in compensation from Anastasiades.

The former chief said the contents of the dismissal letter sent by Anastasiades did not correspond to reality and suggested that the president could have been misinformed.

“I wonder if such a thing has happened before in any other democratic country; a police chief gets the sack based on unfounded allegations, without any investigation or substantiation,” Papageorgiou said.

Papageorgiou was sacked in the wake of a violent protest by far-right ELAM at an event attended by former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Limassol at the end of March.

Around 100 ELAM members disrupted the event, shouting slogans and holding Greek flags outside the Panos Solomonides municipal cultural centre just before it was scheduled to start.

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.

It was reported that although the Limassol police knew that ELAM would protest at the event, only six police officers were present.  Papageorgiou admitted that he had been asleep and was informed about the incident after it had taken place.

Anastasiades laid the blame on Papageorgiou for not taking adequate precautions and wasted no time in sending a letter to police headquarters giving him the sack.

In the letter, Anastasiades referred to a host of acts and omissions on the part of the police leadership that led to the events in Limassol.

Anastasiades said that taking into consideration “a series of other actions and omissions by the chief of police” he had decided to fire him. He referred to the chief’s lack respect for decisions of the institutions of the Republic, including decisions of the courts and the Ombudsman’s recommendations and accused Papageorgiou of performing his duties inadequately “in relation to the clampdown on serious crime and the promotion of real security of citizens.”

Papageorgiou said he was also planning to file a lawsuit against Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou but not in his official capacity.

“It is known that Mr. Nicolaou was trying to get rid, as he was saying, of the chief of police before even taking up office,” Papageorgiou said.

The former police officer said he was only interested in giving a clear message “that such actions hurt the police and the country and are unacceptable and anti-democratic.”



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