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Cyprus

Officers testify in police brutality case

Still from the video that went viral last August

The trial of two police officers, seen beating a young man at Polis Chrysochous police station in a video that went viral last August, continued on Monday at Paphos criminal court with testimony from two other police officers who were at the station.

Officers Panagiotis Nicolaou and Christakis Ioannou were called to the witness stand for the prosecution, and were cross examined by defence lawyer Giorgos Georgiou.

Nicolaou said he had been called to the station in February 2014 while he was off duty when the plaintiff, Panagiotis Savvides pulled out a knife and threatened two other officers who, from a previous fight with Savvides, already bore knife wounds to various parts of their bodies.

Nicolaou claimed he did not take the knife from the plaintiff while Ioannou, who was also at the station, testified that it took him 15 minutes to convince Savvides to put down the small knife he held and had used to injure the officers.

The plaintiff had apparently threatened Ioannou telling him he would kill him if he entered the cell to take the knife.

It was eventually taken and placed in an evidence box.

When the two police officers who are on trial reached the station and approached Savvides, Ioannou said he stayed well away because he was scared of the plaintiff and because he needed to control the computer controlled detention cell door.

Ioannou admitted in court that he did not inform the two officers who were videoed beating up Savvides that he had taken the knife from him because he wanted them to search him.

Medical examiner Sofoclis Sofocleous is expected to take the stand in the next session on January 26 where video evidence is expected to be shown.

The two officers face charges for intentionally causing grievous body harm, harsh, humiliating and inhumane treatment of another individual and illegally causing grievous body harm.

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

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