Cyprus Mail

Communications upgrade at prison

By Constantinos Psillides

Inmates and suspects held at the Central Prison will be issued documents listing the charges they are facing and details of their case to better monitoring inmates and avoid confusion, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Tuesday.

The announcement follows a mix-up three weeks ago when a Romanian who was about to be brought up against charges for raping a fellow inmate was granted a presidential pardon and deported back to his country.

The mistake was only discovered after police officers went to his cell to escort him to court. The Romanian was in jail for theft and following a common Central Prison practice was granted a presidential pardon since he had completed most of his sentence and theft isn’t considered a major crime.

It emerged that police investigators didn’t notify the Central Prison administration – as no such procedure is in place – despite submitting a report on the case to the office of the Attorney General.

According to the police the Romanian was re-arrested and extradited back to Cyprus.

The only documentation accompanying people held at the Central Prison up to now was a court-issued warrant.

“This alone didn’t have all relevant information, making it hard for Central Prison administration to decide where these suspects will be held or how to properly monitor them, at least for the first few days,” said Ionas after a meeting with the newly appointed deputy head of the Central Prison, Anna Aristotelous.

The Minister said this gap in communication between the prison and police has been there for years and it was “one of the many problems inherited by previous administrations”.

The new procedure will be implemented by Monday, December 1.

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