The British-based Justice Abroad team is now representing a British mother, Kaela Charalampous, who was arrested in front of her young child after describing the community leader of Mandria village as ‘useless’ in a Facebook post comment over works being carried out in the village.
The group said that the arrest and charging of Charalampous, (a singer who uses the stage name Kaela Santosh) is an obvious breach of her rights under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and is, “particularly protected when it comes to the protection of criticisms of elected politicians,” it said on its website on Monday.
Following the Paphos resident’s arrest, she was taken to the police station and then to the community leader Kypros Michaelides’ office where he threatened that proceedings would continue against her unless she posted a public apology, one of which he drafted himself and made her post on Facebook.
“Justice Abroad’s Michael Polak has written to Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis and the Attorney General of Cyprus George Savvides for them to immediately confirm that the charges against Ms Charalampous will be dropped, that she will be given a public apology for the unlawful action, and that she will not be subject to any repercussions from the authorities for her lawful actions.”
Polak said: “It is very worrying that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Ms Charalampous for expression which clearly falls within her Article 10 right to criticise an elected representative.”
He added that an urgent investigation at the highest level needs to be undertaken to determine how this occurred especially given that this involves an individual holding public office.
Justice Abroad, (www.justiceabroad.co.uk), has been set up to help those trying to find their way through foreign justice systems.
The entity is run by international lawyer Polak and a team of investigators, lawyers and other staff provide support, advice and guidance anywhere in the world.
“We call on Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis and the Attorney General of Cyprus George Savvides to clarify that criminal proceedings will be discontinued immediately, there will be an inquiry into what has happened in this case and how a warrant was ever issued, and for a public apology to be given to Mrs Charalampous for the fear and distress she has suffered,” the group said.