Cyprus Mail

Lawyers in Polis police brutality case say officers did not use unreasonable force

Screen grab of the Polis police officers hitting the suspect

Lawyers for two police officers seen on video beating up a young man in a cell at Polis police station last year on Tuesday presented their closing arguments to Paphos Criminal Court which will make its final decision on May 9.

The case will play on a technicality, as defence lawyers Georgios Georgiou and Nicolas Tsardellis are arguing that the officers did not know the plaintiff Panagiotis Savvides was unarmed.

In February 2014, Savvides was taken to the Polis Chrysochous police station after a run-in with two other officers whom he attacked with a knife.

Although the plaintiff handed over the knife to police after much coaxing at the station, the two defendants who were called to help did not know he was unarmed and thought he still had the knife in his possession, Tsardellis said, although Savvides was already in a cell.

CCTV footage that went viral in August 2015 showed the two officers entering the cell and began to beat Savvides repeatedly, one using a baton.

The level of violence they used did not exceed the reasonable limits for the purposes of conducting a body search, the lawyer argued.

They were also extremely concerned because on the way to the station, they had been bombarded with messages telling them the situation was chaotic and had found out that colleagues had allegeldy been hurt by Savvides.

Tsardellis also argued that just because the two officers were on trial together did not mean they were accomplices.

State prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou said there was no excuse for the officers’ behaviour and the incident was incredibly sad.

He also told court the defendants had not been entirely honest in their statements as they had given different accounts as to what was said and when.

The court will make its decision on May 9.

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