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12° Nicosia,
01 February, 2023
 
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Cypriot author talks illegal surveillance with PEGA

Attorney-general says Cyprus respects private communications, renowned author says that’s a lie

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Cypriot author Makarios Drousiotis said on Wednesday that illegal surveillance was still taking place in the Republic of Cyprus, as European lawmakers were on the island for a second day of meetings to uncover any unlawful activity amid spying scandals.

Drousiotis, a local investigative journalist who recently wrote a series of books on corruption, was a guest on state radio Wednesday morning when he was asked to weigh in on the work of the delegation from the European Parliament’s PEGA committee.

The fact-finding committee, which is also visiting Greece where an espionage political scandal was uncovered recently, came to Cyprus to seek and understand how Israeli-made spying software may have been sold to EU clients with licenses from Nicosia. MEPs are also asking for a copy of a report on Cyprus' spy van case.

Attorney General George Savvides, who was scheduled to meet with PEGA members in his office on Wednesday, told reporters a day earlier there were strict rules under which lawful surveillance could take place in accordance with the Cypriot Constitution.

According to the journalist, the former attorney general himself 'would never trust authorities to touch his phone to check for bugs'

Savvides, who previously served as justice minister before taking his current position in 2019, said “we fully respect the protection of private communication which is enshrined in our Constitution.”

But Drousiotis says that’s a lie.

“Today I will meet with the PEGA committee and I will explain why this is a lie. Institutions in Cyprus are laundering corruption,” Drousiotis tweeted on Tuesday.

Drousiotis, whose appearance before the committee was later changed to a working lunch, said his phone and computer devices had been hacked and added that the issue of surveillance in Cyprus went beyond any type of software.

“I asked Google to help me check the phone and they deferred me to the state’s attorney general,” Drousiotis said, referring to Savvides’ predecessor Costas Clerides.

The author went on to say that he had visited the country’s top law enforcement official and suggested he got a response with irony.

“That’ll save you, he told me,” Drousiotis said.

According to the journalist, Clerides himself “would never trust authorities to touch his phone to check for bugs.”

Drousiotis' latest book “Mafia State” tackles illegal surveillance in what he describes as a labyrinth of custom-made legislation aimed at serving hidden agendas and personal interests.

“I ended up going to Holland to have my phone checked,” he said, adding that he had his device looked by an expert in a private company.

Drousiotis, who went public last year with allegations he had been blacklisted in the media, has been making the rounds promoting his book on some outlets and alternative media.

“Illegal monitoring is still taking place today,” Drousiotis said.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  PEGA  |  pegasus  |  surveilance  |  Makarios Drousiotis  |  spy van  |  Europe  |  Israel

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