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Cyprus

Attorney-general quashes lawsuit against drug squad chief Katsounotos (Updated)

Attorney-General Giorgos Savvides

The attorney general’s (AG) office on Thursday put a stop to a private criminal lawsuit that prison director Anna Aristotelous and her deputy filed against drug squad chief Michalis Katsounotos.

Justifying the decision, the AG referred back to his statement dated December 21 last year, where he found there was no evidence of corruption against Katsounotos.

The row has been brewing for months, after Aristotelous and her deputy Athena Demetriou, charged that Katsounotos attempted to secure damaging footage of them after colluding with an inmate.

Aristotelous and Demetriou had filed a private criminal case against Katsounotos which according to reports was set to be heard at a district court level on March 24. They also planned to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Their lawyer Christos Triantafyllides responded to the developments in a letter to the AG, saying “the public interest is surely not synonymous with the protection of Mr Katsounotos from court proceedings and the ability of my clients to exercise their legal rights.”

In his letter to AG Giorgos Savvides expressing “intense disagreement” with the latter’s decision to quash his clients’ lawsuit, the attorney asked for permission to re-file another criminal lawsuit from scratch.

What happened is that initially Aristotelous and Demetriou had sought to file a private criminal lawsuit against Katsounotos, based on – and citing – the findings of a prior inquiry. Members of the public may file private criminal lawsuits, but need permission from the AG.

In this case, the AG denied their request to file, so the two women withdrew that private lawsuit. Subsequently, however, they did file a new lawsuit – this time not based on the inquiry.

This is the lawsuit which the AG has now quashed.

Aristotelous and Demetriou announced they wanted to leave their post after the AG rubbished any corruption claims. Demetriou has been seconded to the auditor-general’s office while developments over Aristotelous’ post are still up in the air.

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