Three 16-year-old girls were arrested in connection with the beating of a classmate, also 16, in a Limassol school on Thursday, which was recorded and uploaded on social media, police said on Friday.
The case emerged after a video showing a 16-year-old girl being badly beaten by two girls in their school grounds has been making the rounds on social media since Thursday night. The beating occurred earlier that day.
Two of the alleged assailants were arrested on Thursday and spent the night in detention following a complaint filed by the victim’s mother, police told the Cyprus News Agency.
A third girl was arrested on Friday in connection with the same case. All three suspects were to be released later in the day after being charged, police said.
The assailants are reportedly students of the B Limassol technical school and the victim goes to the A Limassol technical school.
“The case calls for delicate handling and there is cooperation with the education ministry and the school’s management,” police spokesman Andreas Angelides told state broadcaster CyBC.
The three girls are being investigated for assault and battery, public insults, and causing a ruckus.
Angelides said the victim was taken to hospital after the beating and that the police have in their possession the medical report. According to media reports, doctors ordered that she wear a neck collar.
The medical report, Angelides said, will be taken into consideration as this will determine the extent of the offence. He said that at the moment police are taking testimonies from a number of people.
Education Minister Costas Kadis told CyBC that instructions have been given for the full investigation of the incident.
He added that the school has already been contacted by his ministry’s psychologists and rapid response team.
“Based on the findings of the investigation, the necessary disciplinary and pedagogical measures will be taken,” Kadis said.
Children’s rights commissioner Leda Koursoumba raised an issue on the protection of the privacy of minors and said she asked police to contact Facebook and have the video removed, daily Politis reported. Koursoumba told Politis that she also called Kadis and urged him to send promptly his ministry’s rapid response team to the school in question. Both the victims, she said, and the assailants are children and require special treatment.
Politis reported that the school’s deputy principal who had intervened to stop the beating, was injured and was transferred to hospital.
In the video, which shows a number of girls gathered in the school yard, one girl can be seen verbally abusing the victim, who is sitting in a plastic chair.
The angry girl appears to be questioning her schoolmate on why she messaged her boyfriend, with a friend of hers joining in to say that the two had been going out for four months.
When the sitting girl fails to produce a satisfactory explanation, the first girl appears to be going into a rage, slapping the girl hard enough to knock her off the chair and pulling her hair.
A number of slaps and punches to the victim’s face follow, with the attacker’s friend joining in to the physical abuse, too, kicking the girl and pulling her hair.
Seconds later, the beating is over and the two girls walk away from the victim, still on the ground.
As the girl who initiated the fight walks off, she realises she was being filmed all along, flashing a wide grin at the camera.
Other girls can be seen sitting around smoking cigarettes, but make no attempt to stop the beating – other than a few calls for the two girls to stop.
According to media reports, a second video shows the two girls, later the same day, attacking the girl again at the bus stop outside the school.
This time, they allegedly repeatedly bang her head on the road, after knocking her down again.
According to sources from the girl’s family, cited by Antenna TV, the 16-year-old has recently been the victim of at least four beatings.