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13 July, 2024
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Government considers making face-covering in protests a crime

Proposed law aims to protect right to peaceful assembly


DISY is set to present a proposal to amend the Penal Code to criminalize participating in demonstrations while deliberately concealing one's identity. Nikos Tornaritis, an MP from DISY, announced this development and emphasized the aim of the proposed law is to safeguard the right to peaceful assembly, protected by Cyprus' Constitution, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Tornaritis stressed the need for the law to align with the European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence, which places an obligation on the state to protect peaceful demonstrations from disruptive elements. The proposed legislation intends to prevent individuals from covering their faces with the intent to commit criminal offenses during protests.

The bill outlines that anyone who participates in a demonstration or assembly and intentionally conceals their face without reasonable cause, in circumstances suggesting criminal activity, may face penalties of up to two years in prison or a fine of up to €4,000, or both.

Tornaritis clarified that the proposed law pertains to demonstrations and assemblies, excluding stadiums, as sports events are subject to separate regulations. He also clarified that the bill does not infringe upon individuals' rights to express their religious beliefs peacefully.

[Information sourced from CNA]


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