By Evie Andreou
FOLLOWING last week’s fracas in parliament between AKEL MP Irene Charalambidou and DISY deputy Andreas Kyprianou when he reportedly tried to take a photo up her skirt, both deputies said on Sunday they had reported the other to the police.
Charalambidou, posting on her Facebook and Twitter accounts, said her dignity and the dignity of every woman had required that she report the incident to the police.
“It is not important that the assailant was an MP, nor which party he is a member of. An assault against a woman aiming to degrade her and humiliate her is a crime, regardless of who the perpetrator is,” Charalambides said.
The deputy said she wanted to set an example for other women who have been in her place.
“If I, holding a public office, do not react, how do we expect any other woman who suffers a similar attack to cope with social pressure, unjustified self-blame and the aggressor’s insolence that ‘he can put her in her place’?” she asked.
According to sources, the incident occurred at the end of the House ethics committee’s meeting, when Charalambidou pointed her mobile phone camera at Kyprianou in a gesture indicating she would take a photo of him lighting up a cigarette before he had left the room, in violation of the law that prohibits indoor smoking.
Kyprianou then reportedly started moving toward her aggressively shouting “just do it” and hurling insults and placed his phone under her skirt trying to take a photo. He reportedly also called her a slut.
The DISY MP also announced on his Facebook page that he had reported Charalambidou’s “illegal, indecent, offensive and verbal attack” against him.
According to Politis, he said that she first started hurling insults at him after he had asked her to erase the photos she had taken of him and another colleague lighting a cigarette, an action he acknowledged was wrong.
He added that she was “indecently” sitting on the table and not on the chair in the conference room.
“If by pointing out to Mrs Charalambidou, while presenting a mobile phone, that with the indecent way she was sitting, we too could take a photo of her and expose her is considered an indecent assault it is for someone else to decide,” the statement said.
“At 53, I have never insulted anyone man or woman because I have learned to respect them.”
But he added that just because she was a woman did not justify “her swearing and behaving inappropriately … breaking the law and then hiding behind her womanhood to defend herself”.
House speaker Yiannakis Omirou has already announced that the incident, which he characterised as “an insult to parliamentarism”, would not be swept under the rug. Neither AKEL nor DISY has commented on the incident.