The woman whose home was raided by police late last month over a parody account on Twitter mocking Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis has confirmed she will sue the government as well as Yiolitis’ partner.
Niki Zarou, a teacher, told Politis radio on Monday that she felt “violated” when three police officers showed up at her Larnaca home with a search warrant.
The alleged offence on the warrant was ‘cybercrime’, she was told at the time. The officers did not hand her the warrant so she could read it, only flashed it to her briefly.
She said the officers then went through all the rooms in her home, seizing computers and electronic devices, including those of her children.
The devices were eventually returned. Last week the supreme court cancelled the warrant, judging that it had been issued wrongfully by a Larnaca district court as the document did not cite the specific reasons for the search and seizure.
Under oath, the officer had requested the warrant from the district court in relation with impersonation and personal data violations. The offending Twitter account clearly states it is a parody.
At any rate, Zarou denies that the spoof account is hers.
She said that while searching her home police asked her if she had a Twitter account in her name. She said she did, and that this was well-known.
They next asked her if she knew who was behind the parody account. She said no.
Regarding the search warrant itself, Zarou said, police told her they had obtained information linking her to the parody account.
But they have not produced the provenance of this information, nor to her attorneys when they requested it.
According to Zarou, prior to the Twitter affair, she had written an article criticising Yiolitis for having sued for slander an academic after the latter suggested on social media that Yiolitis had ties to the citizenship-by-investment programme.
The minister should have exercised restraint, Zarou said.
Meantime Zarou also plans to sue Yiolitis’ partner, well known TV presenter Chrysanthos Tsouroullis.
On Twitter, Tsouroullis posted that he personally heard from “two politicians” that Zarou was the administrator of the parody account.
“I shall not dignify his comments. My attorneys will be sending a letter to him shortly,” Zarou said.
Yiolitis herself had reported the parody Twitter conduct to police. The minister has taken flak from opposition parties, accusing her of abusing her powers.