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Police association warns against premature judgements after prison chief’s allegations

File photo: Nicosia prisons

The association of senior police officers on Saturday said it was confident the independent investigation into allegations made by central prisons director Anna Aristotelous will clarify all aspects of the case.

The previous day, Aristotelous called for the appointment of independent criminal investigators, alleging she was targeted by a senior police officer who she said colluded with an inmate to try and obtain damaging video footage of her. 

“The right to privacy of every citizen of the Republic of Cyprus must be respected, both constitutionally and on a European and international level,” the association’s statement said.  

“It is also legally established that the preservation of an individual’s privacy as a fundamental freedom aims at establishing their autonomy in areas where the human condition requires its independent operation,” it added.  

Without taking a side, the association added that as the complaint is still at an early stage, “any condemnation and/or public reference against any specific individual cannot stand at the present stage, taking into account the presumption of innocence, which is also enshrined in law, both at home and on a European/international level”. 

The allegations had authorities scrambling as Aristotelous said she would file a written complaint with the attorney-general on Monday. Aristotelous will also call for the suspension of the officer because “many issues are raised, including security issues.” 

The prisons director met for more than an hour on Friday afternoon with Justice Minister, Stephi Dracou, whom she briefed on the evidence she holds. 

Aristotelous had first made the revelations to daily Politis and alleged that the officer had sought to obtain footage which would damage her reputation. 

“When one officer invades the personal life of another, then surely such acts of corruption should not be hushed up. And neither the gentleman, nor my dignity, nor my morals allows me to let this stand,” Aristotelous added. 

The allegations have caused a major stir, with police spokesman Christos Andreou saying that Dracou was currently leading efforts in handling the case. 

Aristotelous said she decided not to report the case to the police as the incident concerned a senior officer, adding that the force is unable to investigate itself. 

The prison director further stated that she has evidence of the senior officer communicating with the inmate, with local media reporting that the two shared messages on Telegram on an almost daily basis. 

Asked how the evidence came into her hands, she said she could not go into much detail. “What I can say, is that we have in our possession heaps of messages that appear to show that the senior officer was persistently asking for videos of my personal life from the convicted felon.” 

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