A court has issued a gag order on Stavros Stavrou, the former head of the government doctors union, preventing him from publishing any disparaging comments about the University of Cyprus (UCy) medical school.
The court forbids Stavros Stavrou to “publish and/or cause to be published and/or be circulated and/or promote any defamatory remarks regarding the University of Cyprus medical school,” on penalty of being placed under arrest and his property seized.
The order, which has immediate effect, is in force until September 10, the deadline by which new students are enrolled into UCy for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Stavrou, whom the university sued for defamation, was due to appear in court on Tuesday to argue against the gag order.
In the lawsuit, UCy claims Stavrou’s commentary was malicious and vindictive.
The lawsuit was prompted by a series of critical public statements – on radio, television and in the press – made by Stavrou concerning the staffing and infrastructures at UCy’s medical school.
Among other accusations, Stavrou alleged potential mismanagement of state funds given to the medical school – in particular that the school did not fill certain positions some four years after it was founded.
He had submitted his allegations to the auditor-general and to the Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education.
Stavrou had also been among the government doctors who tried to block an arrangement between the health ministry and UCy’s medical school.
Government doctors had threatened strike action in a bid to obstruct the agreement, under which the medical school’s academic staff would receive clinical training at state hospitals.
A bill placing the collaboration between the UCy medical school and state hospitals within a legal framework is currently being finalised, with the aim of sending it to parliament by September.