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Crime openly organised from prison

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The central prison (Photo: Christos Theodorides)

The ‘job’ was ordered on video call within the prison cell

A Supreme Court decision to quash an arrest warrant has brought to light the extent of organised crime within Cyprus’ central prisons.

Details of the case, published on Saturday, detail a prisoner carrying out a video call and openly ordering the person on the other end to carry out a crime. This was all done within the prison cell at around 2am on January 31.

You’ve got to go sort him out…It’s been days since I told you. Go with your friend, everything is ready. Look at the pictures and videos I sent you,” he was quoted as saying.

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court moved to quash the arrest warrant aimed at searching his home and vehicles, citing insufficient evidence to create reasonable suspicion.

Police had wanted to scour through his property in an effort to find mobile phones that could contain evidence of the conversation overheard on the call.

The suspect did not even keep his voice down and was apparently angrily and loudly yelling from his cell: “you have to go and sort him out.”

This is all according to a police officer’s statement, who cited a highly credible source.

‘I want the hunting rifle’

The officer specified the convict was “speaking in Greek on a video call with a smart phone he had on him, while in his cell.”

The person on the other end of the call lives in Larnaca.

As the call came to an end, the convict said “I want the hunting rifle when he’s home.”

The issue of inmates using mobile phones within prisons has been a thorn in the government’s side.

MPs have long warned about prisoners using mobile phones to conduct criminal activities with the outside world.

The system aimed at deactivating mobile phones has still not been implemented, though it has been discussed for years.

Though the quotes were part of a court hearing, the Supreme Court ultimately quashed the arrest warrant aimed at searching the suspect’s home and vehicles – despite evidence of criminal intent.

‘Insufficient evidence’

It said the lower court lacked the authority to issue the warrant, as there was no evidence connecting the suspect’s home and cars to the investigation.

The warrant issued at 3am came 20 hours after the police was initially informed of the events, violating articles 15 and 16 of the constitution, which set strict criteria on interfering in a person’s private and family life, according to the Supreme Court.

Additionally, the Court determined that although the informant did not need to be named, the police’s conclusions should have been substantiated.

The warrant, issued by Nicosia district court, was issued on the grounds of conspiracy to commit a felony, threats of violence, and participation in a criminal organisation.

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