Cyprus Mail

Prison director renews leave of absence

File photo: Nicosia central prison

Decisions on the issue of the prisons’ directorate are expected soon as prison director Anna Aristotelous, on sick leave since January, renewed her leave of absence while her replacement’s service runs out on Friday.

Aristotelous, who has been the head of the prison department since 2014, has been granted leave of absence until April 21.

She has been on leave since January 10 this year, while her assistant, Athena Demetriou, also later took a leave of absence.

It remains unclear whether Demetriou, the most senior officer of the prisons, has also extended her sick leave.

The two had requested their transfer to another public service last year, listing a number of reasons and raising security issues.

This came after the legal service found no evidence of corruption against senior police officer Ioannis Katsounotos who was accused by Aristotelous as having collided with an inmate to secure damaging footage of her and Demetriou.

According to the relevant law, public servants are eligible for a six-month sick leave.

Meanwhile, the appointment of the acting prison director’s service expires on Friday. Famagusta police deputy chief Ioannis Kapnoullas was selected as a temporary replacement of Aristotelous by the former justice minister Stephie Dracou.

Media reported that the new justice minister Anna Prokopiou is expected to make an announcement on the issue in the coming days. She is expected to decide whether to extend the temporary replacement of the director or appoint a new head of the prisons.

The newly appointed official is currently at the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council in Brussels.

Another issue afflicting the prisons has been overcrowding, with new president Nikos Christodoulides expecting to announce pardons and release dozens of prisoners. Excluded are those sentenced for life, sexual abuse crimes against minors and drug trafficking.

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