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Calls for prosecution of archbishop over demolition of listed houses

ÅÑÅÕÍÇÔÉÊÇ ÅÐÉÔÑÏÐÇ ÃÉÁ ÔÉÓ ÐÏËÉÔÏÃÑÁÖÇÓÅÉÓ – ÁÑ×ÉÅÐÉÓÊÏÐÏÓ ÊÕÐÑÏÕ
Archbishop Chrysostomos

A letter addressed to the attorney-general George Savvides on Monday called for the immediate prosecution of Archbishop Chrysostomos over the demolition of four listed houses last week.

Signed by 62 professionals in the fields of law, economics and social sciences, the letter lists a number of offences the archbishop should be prosecuted for, ending with last week’s widely condemned illegal demolition of the houses in old Nicosia.

Instead of putting the brakes on the archbishop’s actions, the attorney-general’s neutral stance so far has inadvertently given him permission “to continue behaving beyond any logical, moral and legal framework”, the letter reads.

Chrysostomos has disrupted the collective sense of justice, the letter continues, not only with his provocative illegal actions, but also with his public declarations that betray his contempt for morals and institutional framework.

One of the offences listed in the letter concerns what is described as hate speech. “On many occasions the Archbishop has extended racist and homophobic remarks against minorities, such as calling asylum seekers ‘beggars who will never become European citizens’,” the letter said.

They also accused the archbishop of threatening the authorities over the 2017 incident when the archbishop expressed anger about the establishing of an archaeological site in Geroskipou on church-owned land, saying he will bulldoze the site himself if he had to.

They also said the archbishop has confessed to accepting a bribe and complicity in illegal actions – pertaining to the passport scheme.

“The social unrest the archbishop has continued to cause with his behaviour, including his much-condemned latest act, needs to be addressed from a legal point of view,” the letter reads.

The law states that the attorney-general has the power to prosecute any individual on any charges, if that will benefit the public interest.

With this in mind, the 62 signatories called upon Savvides to exercise his constitutional power “to heal our wounded justice system” and safeguard social peace instead of causing it further damage.

The letter ends by saying that if the attorney-general’s office does not act immediately, the letter reads, it risks being held responsible, along with the legal and political bodies that tolerated the archbishop’s behaviour, of demonstrating complete lenience for unlawful and indiscriminate behaviour.

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