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Cyprus

Coronavirus: 13 complaints against officers accused of abusing power

The independent police watchdog has received 13 complaints against officers accused of abusing power during the enforcement of state-mandated restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

The alleged violations took place between March 12 and early April. One of the complaints concerns officers using excessive force against a binman who was allegedly in violation of the curfew.

The 29-year-old’s lawyer said his client was stopped for a check and even though he had the form from his employer allowing him to be outside for work, “he was brutally beaten, arrested, humiliated and charged.”

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the watchdog has asked the attorney-general to appoint a criminal investigator in that case.

Another complaint concerns the refusal of police officers at the Astromeritis crossing point to let an ambulance through. The ambulance had been carrying a 49-year-old Greek Cypriot who had suffered a heart attack in Kato Pyrgos to Nicosia. It had crossed into the north and attempted to return to the government-controlled areas through Astromeritis on its way to Nicosia general hospital.

At the time, four crossing points remained open as part of measures against the virus. The ambulance eventually had to travel to Nicosia and go through Ayios Dhometios crossing.

Another complaint was filed by a man fined by police in Larnaca. The man had been swimming on his doctor’s orders due to health problem when an officer ordered him out of the water so that he could book him.

Another citizen reported officers of shopping at a bakery while on duty carrying out checks.

Yet another man reported an officer who fined him for operating a separate section in his kiosk selling alcohol.

 



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