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28 October, 2020
 
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AG mulling over intervening after man gets prison for breaking curfew

At a time when efforts are being made to decongest prisons, such news are concerning, a lawyer for the Association for the Protection of Prisoners' Rights said

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Attorney-General Costas Clerides said Wednesday that the Law Office of the Republic of Cyprus, in consultation with President Nicos Anastasiades, is considering to intervene in a case where a court imposed a 45-day prison sentence on a 35-year-old man who had broken curfew in late March to visit his girlfriend.

News emerged on Tuesday that the Famagusta District Court chose to come down hard on a 35-year-old who was caught breaking curfew by 15 minutes in Dherynia on March 25, when curfew was set between 9pm and 6am.

Upon being questioned by police, the man claimed he violated curfew to visit his girlfriend.

The court moved to sentence the man to 45 days of immediate imprisonment, stressing in its decision that none can feel above the law, especially when these are in place for the protection of public health.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Alexandros Clerides, lawyer for the Association for the Protection of Rights of Prisoners and Detainees, said that while the Association has yet to receive the document containing the court’s decision in full, “at a period where efforts are being made to decongest prisons through various means, such as through the appointment of an ad hoc committee to resolve the issue, it is concerning to see such news.”

Alexandros Clerides said that “alternative penalties have been promoted by the Association since 2017, and in cases such as this, it is a prime example of how an alternative sentence could have been issued with positive results.”

He explained that an alternative sentence could involve ordering the defendant to appear for work at a hospital for 45 days under supervision.

“The immediate imprisonment of a person must always be the last choice in cases where any other penalty would not have been effective.”

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