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Supreme Court grants appeal rights to four suspects in Dias attack

The supreme court

The supreme court has granted four applicants permission to file an appeal against the arrest warrants used by the police to detain them in connection with an attack against the building housing a media group in July, following a protest against Covid measures and vaccines.

The court said reasonable cause had not been substantiated for seven offences listed on the warrants, neither was the need to issue one in three of the offences. The supreme court said the principle of proportionality had not been observed.

The four were arrested following an attack against the Dias building, which houses Sigma television and Simerini newspaper, on July 18.

An angry group burned cars, smashed glass doors, and trashed the reception area. Some returned to the palace where they threw stones.

It followed a larger protest outside the presidential palace of people opposing government measures to stop the spread of the virus.

According to the warrants, a police officer on duty at the palace saw seven protesters board a truck whose load space was covered.

“After following the truck in question, it was determined that its passengers had also taken part in the protest at Dias.”

The vehicle was intercepted by police and those at the back jumped out and attacked the officers, the court heard.

The first three were arrested on the spot while the fourth, who was the driver, was not reported as taking part in the fracas or being arrested.

The incident is not linked with the arrest warrants relating to alleged offences outside the palace and Dias.

The statement given during the request for the warrants concerned five more people who did not appear to be related with the four applicants.

One was arrested outside the palace and the other four on suspicion of being the organisers of the protest.

According to the court, the police statement that it had been determined the passengers had also taken part in the Dias protest “does not constitute proof, which can be evaluated by the judge who issued the warrant, but the conclusion of the officer’s sworn statement based on evidence, that, if it existed, was not disclosed to the judge.”

The same went for the last paragraph of the sworn statement, which claimed that the police had evidence that raised reasonable suspicion of participation in the offences.

“Beyond their presence at the presidential palace … no specific evidence had been presented that the applicants had committed any other offence as perpetrators or accomplices by instigating or advising or encouraging anyone to commit an offence.”

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