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12 August, 2022
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Cyprus Police accused of ‘cooking up’ witnesses

Lawyer of acquitted client wants probe into illegal delicacies, phone use, alcohol for jailed prosecution witnesses


A lawyer for a man acquitted in a drug trafficking case is calling on authorities to investigate evidence that emerged during his trial, citing unreliable witnesses getting cozy with police and violations of jailhouse protocol including late night birthday parties and consumption of illegal delicacies.

Yiorgos Christodoulou Zavrandonas, who is known to police authorities for drug related cases, was acquitted recently in a criminal case in Larnaca where two people in the drug squad’s witness protection program were found to be unreliable during cross examination.

But Zavrandonas’ defense attorney Christos Poudjouris says his client waited for the completion of the trial and was now calling on authorities to investigate information that emerged in the courtroom, including witnesses getting drunk while in protective custody on jail premises as well as using a private phone to call up and intimidate a defendant in another case.

The lawyer wants authorities to investigate allegations about a feast in jail where illegal delicacy ambelopoulia was consumed as well as a parties with lots of champagne for protected witnesses

That other defendant was none other than Nicosia businessman Alexis “Alexoui” Mavromichalis, known to police authorities and a fierce critic of corruption within law enforcement, who was also acquitted last year in an attempted murder trial after being wrongfully jailed in pre-trial detention for over 20 months.

Months later, in April 2022, Mavromichalis filed a complaint with police internal affairs, accusing prosecutors of malicious prosecution and concealing exculpatory evidence.

In his letter sent to multiple recipients including the police chief and the attorney general, Poudjouris is asking authorities to investigate allegations regarding a late night feast in jail where illegal delicacy ambelopoulia was consumed as well as a birthday party with lots of champagne.

Poudjouris pointed out that in one photograph presented in court depicted one unreliable witness who posed in his jail cell with ambelopoulia dishes, an illegal delicacy widely consumed by locals on the island typically after hours.

Rigged from the get go

The lawyer has been arguing the case against Zavrandonas was “rigged from the get go” after the two men under a witness protection deal offered by the drug squad had been cooked up by investigators.

Poudjouris said one of the witnesses admitted having a private phone in jail, which he used to make a call to Alexoui.

“He admitted that after a complaint to police made by Alexis Mavromichalis, the phone was confiscated, noting here that the reason behind the complaint was the fact that the two witnesses were drunk at the police station and called [Alexoui] to threaten him as well as my client,” the letter said.

The lawyer also expressed him hope that institutions probing allegations inside prison would be extended to investigate what often takes places in police stations, referring to allegations of police throwing parties for witness protection participants with 200-euro champagne bottles.

Cyprus  |  police  |  corruption  |  drugs  |  Zavrantonas  |  Zavrandonas  |  Alexoui  |  Poudjouris  |  ambelopoulia  |  jail  |  witness protection  |  drug squad

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