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Report into prisons controversy handed over to AG

stefi drakou
Justice Minister Stephie Drakou

A report relating to allegations and counter-allegations between the central prisons director and the head of the Drugs Squad was handed over to the attorney-general on Thursday.

The report was prepared by attorney Achilleas Emilianides, appointed by the AG as an independent criminal investigator in late June to look into the potential commission of criminal offences by a senior police officer (the head of the Drugs Squad) and an inmate at the central prisons.

The dossier was handed over to attorney-general Giorgos Savvides late in the afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Savvides said he would examine the report – which would not be made public – and then decide any further action.

In a statement shortly after the report’s delivery, Justice Minister Stephi Drakou – responsible for the police force – said she would now be lifting the suspension of the head of the Drugs Squad Michalis Katsounotos.

He had been placed under suspension pending the completion of the special investigation.

Drakou said she did not have access to the contents of the dossier, but expected to be duly briefed by the attorney-general.

The affair broke in mid-June when central prisons director Anna Aristotelous alleged that a senior police officer – later revealed to be Katsounotos – was colluding with an inmate to secure damaging footage of her and her assistant.

That led to a series of investigations.

The first, ordered by the attorney general, is much narrower in its scope and focuses on allegations made by Aristotelous.

A second investigation was deemed necessary after the courts found that a man behind bars – serving life sentences for murder – was the ringleader of two attempted murder attacks, having used a mobile phone while in prison to organise crime.

The deputy attorney general’s office also cited “recent reports” which allege rampant drug use inside the prisons.

Aristotelous and the unit’s senior officer Athina Demetriou asked to be transferred from their positions a day after the second investigation was announced.

There have been claims that alleged illegalities – drug and phone use, among others – continued long after Aristotelous took charge of the prisons.

In a statement on Thursday, issued by his lawyer, Katsounotos said that although his suspension was now over he would take a leave of absence until the attorney-general reaches a decision on the matter.

The officer added that he has kept a low profile throughout, despite a barrage of “mudslinging” designed to tarnish his good name.

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