Cyprus Mail

MPs urge more transparency from intel agency

The majority of MPs in the House Ethics Committee consider provisions regulating the declassification of secret service (KYP) documents to be in conflict with the spirit and letter of the law passed by parliament last year.

The committee was discussing regulations submitted by the government, necessary for the implementation of the law concerning the operation of KYP and transparency.

The draft gave the power to the KYP commander to keep documents in the dark for eternity, according to MPs.

Committee chairman Zaharias Zahariou said the regulations provide for the creation of an advisory committee to oversee the declassification of documents.

The majority of the MPs on the committee want any matters handled by KYP to be published with the exception of issues relating to public interest.

Zahariou said the philosophy should be the same as in the UK where all documents are released to the public apart from those linked with the country’s national interest.

The chairman said parliament’s intention was to have the highest transparency possible, adding that the committee asked for the regulations to incorporate its suggestions before discussion continued.

The objective is to publish the highest possible number of documents, and protect those that could do damage to the national issue, Zahariou said.

Akel MP Aristos Damianou said the understanding in April last year when the law was approved, was to publish documents after 30 years with certain exemptions.

The draft bill before MPs clashed with that understanding, Damianou said, enabling the KYP commander to keep documents away from public view forever,

Damianou said the proposed regulations went against the spirit and the letter of the law, urging the government to rethink the matter and prepare rules that strike a balance between transparency and protection of public interest.

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