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Public prosecutors call for security boost

Φωτιά σε αυτοκίνητο δημόσιας κατήγορου Πάφος
The car destroyed in January's attack

Public prosecutors have called on the government to increase security measures in the wake of two targeted attacks carried out in recent weeks.

In a letter dated January 19 to President Nikos Christodoulides which came to light on Monday, they referenced a pair of attacks; the explosion at the home of a public prosecutor in the Paphos village of Anavargos in December, and an arson attack on a public prosecutor’s car in January.

They said the prosecutor targeted in December was “lucky to survive” the blast.

In response to these attacks, they called on the government to install CCTV, alarm systems, secure fencing, and police guards at their homes.

With this in mind, public prosecutors from across the island held a meeting with high level officials from the legal service to convey their concerns and suggestions, with the legal service offering their word that the matter would be raised with the government.

In their letter to Christodoulides, they pointed out that they are bound to take on “any criminal case” assigned to them by the Attorney-general’s office.

They said, “due to the fact that criminal cases involve the possibility of imprisonment for the accused, who often have a propensity towards crime, and the fact that public prosecutors are called upon to manage a huge volume of criminal cases every day, they are exposed to danger every day.”

“Specifically, public prosecutors receive threats not only against their own lives but also against their families, while there are a not inconsiderable number of incidences when their property is damaged by criminals precisely because of the cases they have handled.

“In other words, the nature and the volume of criminal cases present a danger for public prosecutors who are mandated to bring them before court,” they said.

Additionally, they called on the government to increase their salaries, saying the matter of pay rises is “inextricably linked” to their security, “since the adoption of reinforcements in both areas leads to the strengthening and independence of public prosecutors, which is necessary for the administration of criminal justice.”

They pointed out that the Group of States against Corruption (Greco) report had recommended that salaries be increased, but “up to now, pay scales have not been upgraded as they should have been.

“It is obvious that the existing pay scales for public prosecutors do not provide salaries and prospects for advancement which would be appropriate for the function they perform.

“It does not make any sense for the state to place so many demands on public prosecutors… yet at the same time being impermissibly and discouragingly frugal with their salaries,” they said.

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