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Cyprus

Serious questions raised over Oroklini shooting

The scene outside the Oroklini apartment after the shooting on May 21

Immigrant support group KISA has disputed the police version of events that led to the fatal shooting of an Egyptian man who took his 16-month-old son hostage and was threatening to kill him in Larnaca on May 21.
The 12-hour standoff ended with the counter-terrorism unit raiding the Oroklini flat and shooting dead the 41-year-old to save the child.
The toddler suffered a knife wound during the incident, from his cheek to his neck, but it was not clear how that happened.
Initial reports said it occurred when police shot the father and he fell while holding a knife, but police have insisted their intervention rescued “the child as the 41-year-old had managed to stab its left jaw.”
Police said the child was in imminent danger as the man was seen standing over the boy holding a knife inside the flat.
They said they shot him five times using rubber bullets, which failed to incapacitate him, before using live rounds.
But KISA have disputed the police narrative.
KISA said this week that it was not true that the man almost severed the child’s carotid since the wound was on the jaw.
“This argument by the police provides an excuse for the decision to raid the house given that if they didn’t execute the father, he would have been able to cause the child fatal injury (to the carotid), without the capacity to treat him immediately,” KISA said. It also rejected the claim that the man was killed by the officers who raided the flat.
“In fact, the spot where the bullet hit the wall of the apartment clearly disproves this. Based on the facts we have, R.E. was executed by a sniper – most likely situated on a floor in the block of flats opposite the apartment – which shows that the final outcome of the matter had been planned before the Special Counter-terrorism Squad stormed into the house.”
KISA said the conclusion that the father was going to kill his child had not been reached after proper and objective assessment of the situation by experts from the social and mental health services and members of NGOs.
Reports said the man and his 36-year-old Hungarian wife were having problems in the run up to the incident.
KISA said there were serious incidents of domestic violence that both the police and people close to the couple were aware of.
“Nevertheless, the police didn’t deal with these incidents effectively, but also didn’t inform the state’s competent authorities. KISA believes that if the competent authorities of the state had intervened appropriately from the beginning, it’s possible we would never have been led to the incident in question,” the statement said.
KISA also added that the child would have been saved without his father’s death if the police had aimed towards resolving the standoff without bloodshed.
The police force responded saying it was saddened by KISA’s statements but refrained from commenting pending an independent probe.
“We do consider necessary however, to stress that under the circumstances, the police did what was required, acting with professionalism and following the proper procedures.”

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