POLICE have been questioning reporters from Phileleftheros newspaper over the leaked emails of a senior state attorney who used her personal account to correspond with the Russian attorney-general’s office regarding extradition cases.
The email account had apparently been hacked and her correspondence was published by a Russian website and reproduced by daily Politis last November.
The published emails showed Eleni Loizidou’s excessive zeal in pursuing extradition requests against Russian nationals, some politically motivated, by the prosecutor-general of the Russian Federation.
Loizidou who has since been suspended pending an investigation, sought and was granted an injunction prohibiting the paper from publishing the emails. She also sued Politis claiming that it had violated her privacy.
Police have questioned several journalists from Politis, which described the move as an effort to muzzle the paper.
The authorities were now questioning Phileleftheros reporters over the matter, prompting its editor-in-chief to pen a front-page op-ed accusing the police of abuse of power.
Aristos Michaelides said the paper’s reporters had not published the contents of the emails but only made references to case.
“Now, police are summoning journalists one after the other and question them as suspects of violating the law because in their articles they use one or two words or phrases already made public like “Dear Vladimir” or “Really missed you … ”
He said it was an abusive interpretation of the law and court orders that did not aim at serving the public interest but to terrorise journalists “and this must stop immediately.”
According to Michaelides, police officers also demanded they remove any ‘offending’ articles from the paper’s website when none had revealed the contents of the emails nor did they intercept any private communications.
“They are wasting our time and that of the police officers because certain people decided to make a show of their police-state narrowmindedness for no reason.”