Anna Aristotelous and assistant Athena Demetriou on Wednesday evening announced their departure from their posts at the central prisons following the Attorney-General’s (AG) decision earlier in the day not to prosecute drug squad chief Michalis Katsounotos amid the corruption investigation on the prisons.
“We have been left with no choice but to request our immediate transfer tomorrow from the prisons directorate, because the way the case has been handled does not prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, nor the serious risks we run,” a joint statement sent by their legal advisors read.
The Ykan chief had been accused of colluding with a convict in the central prisons, but a joint statement from the AG George Savvides and his deputy AG Savvas Angelides outlined that instead, Katsounotos was trying to obtain information as part of his job and tried to uncover potential offences carried out by members of the prison service.
Independent investigator Achilleas Emilianides was appointed to examine the case after prison director Anna Aristotelous went public in June, with her charge that Katsounotos had been colluding with an inmate to try and secure damaging footage of herself and her assistant.
When the story broke, Politis had reported the text messages suggested Katsounotos had offered the convict a number of leniencies including a shot at parole, to try and convince him to obtain the footage.
“We feel very disappointed when the criminal investigator found abuse of power and conspiracy by a senior police officer against us, a clear act of corruption,” the statement continued, adding that the biggest disappointment was the decision not to prosecute the official, “for reasons of public interest, attributing his actions to the so-called zeal of a superior officer”.
But the public interest “cannot be the panacea for his non-prosecution,” the statement continued, because “his duties as a senior officer did not relate to his attempt to obtain information from our private lives with the purpose of harming us”.
The actions of the officer in question remain acts that violate fundamental human rights and in particular the inalienable right to dignity and personal life of everyone, the prison officials added.
“In view of this development, as any self-respecting individuals, we are have been left with no choice but to request our immediate transfer tomorrow from the prisons directorate, because the way the case has been handled does not prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, nor the serious risks we run,”
Finally the officials said they felt the system did not even rudimentarily protect them “in a pure case of abuse of power and conspiracy, which are acts of corruption”.