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24 June, 2024
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Cyprus drops case against pandemic protester

Legal points to weak evidence in case against demonstrator who challenged constitutionality of decrees


State prosecutors have dropped a case against a protester who was being accused of health law violations during a demonstration amid pandemic restrictions, but the Legal department says constitutionality questions raised by his lawyer are still pending.

According to local media, prosecutors suspended prosecution against Angelos Constantinides, a local man who has been accused of incitement as well as taking part in an unlawful demonstration, with additional reports saying the state dropped the charges after his lawyer raised an issue of constitutionality.

Defence attorney Savvas Savvides said he was pleased with the decision to suspend prosecution against his client, saying “as lawyers, we always stand by our fellow citizen who is being persecuted unfairly.”

But Savvides also said he called on the court to adjudicate on the issue of constitutionality, which he had raised in defence of Constantinides back in January 2021.

Constitutionality question remains unresovled

During one of the hearings, the judge presiding over the case said the court would address the constitutionality aspect after the end of the trial, with Savvides saying the latest developments were an indication that there was indeed a constitutionality, further adding citizens now could dispute the charges on similar grounds.

But the Legal Department quickly responded on Thursday with a statement saying the case was dropped because there was not enough evidence to back up the charges.

“The state’s attorney general decided to suspend prosecution against the defendant because after reviewing the first sight all the evidence submitted to court, it did not appear that a case could be built,” the statement said.

Reports said Constantinides took part in a motorcycle demonstration on 3 January 2021, where motorists holding Cypriot and Greek flags shouted slogans against pandemic restrictions and health measures imposed by the government.

“The attorney general rejects claims concerning issues of unconstitutionality and unlawfulness over the decrees in question,” Legal said, adding that prosecution was suspended on a different basis and further adding constitutionality of the decrees will be judged in other court cases still ongoing.

Cyprus  |  pandemic  |  restrictions  |  health  |  court  |  police  |  demonstration  |  protest  |  constitution  |  freedom

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