Cyprus Mail

Brutality cops trial date postponed

By George Psyllides

The start of the trial of two police officers accused of beating a detainee inside a holding cell in Paphos has been postponed for next month after defence lawyers asked for more time to prepare.

The prosecution did not object to the request.

The court adjourned until November 30.

The officers are free on €30,000 bail each They have surrendered their travel documents and they are banned from leaving the country.

The two, who were recorded by a security camera inside the cell, face charges relating to torture, and intentionally causing grievous bodily harm. The latter carries a maximum sentence of life in jail.

Several other police officers present at the station that evening are expected to face a disciplinary probe.

The incident happened in Polis Chrysohous in February 2014.

The video of the beating was published on social media in August.

It shows one officer beating a man repeatedly with a truncheon, beginning on camera and continuing off-camera for a longer period while another looks on but later joins in with a few kicks while the man is on the ground.

The footage was recorded on February 10, 2014 just before 11pm.

The clip starts with the man sitting in a cell when two policemen approach him. He is sprayed in the face with what appears to be pepper spray and backs into a corner whereupon they enter the cell and one policeman violently and repeatedly attacks him with a truncheon.

The man had been arrested earlier that day after resisting a body search and although nothing illegal was found on him, he was taken to Polis Chrysochous station and detained for assaulting police officers.

He was led to the cell foyer and asked to hand over his personal items so they could lock him in a cell, his lawyer said.

The man refused to co-operate and asked for medical care after which police tried to immobilise him using force.

He reacted and got into a fight with the two policemen. During the fracas, one officer hit him on the head and injured him.

At the same time, a penknife fell from the man’s pocket which he grabbed and used to attack one of the policemen. He then ran and locked himself in a cell, the same one the beating subsequently takes place in.

The man was charged for assaulting the police officers but the Criminal Court but was given an 18-month suspended sentence.

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