Justice Minister Stephie Dracou on Wednesday extended to September 5 the suspension of a senior police officer implicated in a complaint filed against him by central prisons director Anna Aristotelous, in which he allegedly colluded with an inmate to obtain video footage of her in an attempt to damage her reputation.

According to a statement by the justice ministry, the extension was granted after a request to Attorney-General Giorgos Savvides by lawyer Achilleas Emilianides, whom he appointed last month as an independent criminal investigator on the case.

The ministry’s statement said that Dracou, “acting within her powers and after studying the senior officer’s position, as well as all the evidence before her and the principles and criteria laid out in law, has decided to extend his suspension until September 5, 2022, in order to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the investigation”.

Emilianides was appointed a month ago , soon after Aristotelous went public with the allegations against the senior police officer. The prisons director had also filed an official complaint with the attorney-general’s office, where she requested the appointment of an independent investigator.

“The actions we have reported are very serious, as has been pointed out by institutional and other officials, and as a citizen – like any citizen – I have the right to demand a full investigation, in order to ensure the prevention of any interference,” she had said.

Savvides had ordered that the investigation be completed within a month. It has now been granted an extension following Emilianides’ request.

On the same day, Dracou announced her intention to suspend the senior police officer after meetings with Aristotelous where she was briefed on the evidence against him.

Aristotelous has received overwhelming backing from prisoners, former prisoners and prison staff who staged a demonstration in her support.

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

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.”