By Evie Andreou
Police on Thursday confirmed they had arrested a convicted child molester who was released some 10 days ago under presidential pardon, after it emerged that the closed-circuit surveillance system in his home was recording a public space.
The man, who had benefitted from a general presidential pardon granted by Nicos Anastasiades after his re-election in February this year, was arrested earlier in the week police said, after officers, during a search in his home, discovered that the CCTV installed in his home was also recording the public space, which is forbidden as it violates the law on personal data.
Police searched his house after a tip-off that he had explosives stored in his home. Police would not confirm reports that the cameras were pointed at the house of his victim who lives in the same neighbourhood.
He was released after being charged. He is due to appear in court at a later stage.
The man, who had been sentenced to three years in jail for molesting his neighbours’ daughter, was due to be released on March 29, 2019. Following the presidential pardon, he was released on September 9 and he returned home to the same neighbourhood as his victim – now an adult – who was not however informed of his release.
News of his release caused outrage in society and prompted the authority that monitors convicted child molesters to seek a court order this week to put the man under its supervision.
According to media reports, Anastasiades has given instructions for the protection of the victim’s family. The president reportedly contacted the family and expressed his apologies of the man’s early release.
The authority that monitors convicted child molesters said on Wednesday it would seek a court order after it emerged that he had been released without supervision and without anyone notifying his victim, now an adult.
It has also been decided to have the man monitored by a state psychologist on a weekly basis as well as welfare officers. Police have also been asked to ensure the victim is protected.
Anastasiades has been heavily criticised over the man’s early release which was made possible by criteria that only exclude from early release convicts who had committed sexual offences against minors up to the age of 13. If the victim was older but still a minor, the convict was not excluded from early release.
The criteria had come into effect days after Anastasiades got re-elected.