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Cyprus

Army probes soldier beating claim (Updated)

File photo of national guardsmen during an exercise

 

Defence Minister Christophoros Fokaides on Monday suspended the commander of a Limassol-based unit who is being investigated for allegedly beating a soldier.

The 18-year old was taken to Limassol general hospital on Monday morning with bruising to his left eye and injuries to the throat and head, reports said.

He claimed he had been attacked by his commander earlier in the day after he went to his office to ask for leave for a trip to Greece on Wednesday. He said he was trying to find photos of his air tickets on his mobile to show the commander when he was assaulted.

“The commander asked me to show him the tickets and I was looking for them on my phone so that he could see it was true,” the soldier, who joined the National Guard this summer, told the media. “In the end, he told me ‘I don’t want them’ and I said ‘give me a minute to show you it’s the truth’.”

At that moment, according to the conscript, the commander allegedly took his phone away and threw it and then slapped his hand.

When the soldier asked him what it was he was doing he was punched in the face.

The soldier said another officer grabbed him from behind, though it was not immediately clear whether he was trying to break up the fracas. The commander then delivered more blows to the head and the throat, the soldier said.

“I tried to get away but as soon as I got outside he followed me and started to kick me.”

The national guardsman was taken to the unit’s doctor and then referred to Limassol hospital for tests.

His mother told the media she was outraged.

“If he did something then punish him, we are not in the dark ages,” she said.

The defence ministry said that Fokaides ordered the immediate suspension of the commander until the investigation ordered by the commander of the National Guard is completed.

The ministry said that Fokaides ordered that the probe be completed no later than Thursday morning and that in the case “responsibilities arise, those responsible must be made accountable promptly to the full extend provided for by the regulations so as to ensure an exemplary punishment”.

The Cyprus News Agency said that the commander had already sent a report to the army chiefs.

He denies the claims, saying it was the soldier who moved against him forcing other soldiers to intervene to subdue him.

 

 

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