Two suspected illegal bird trappers in Cyprus were briefly detained last week, with reports suggesting one of them bullied a police officer who arrived on site where activists were reporting a crime in progress.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, two men were briefly arrested on Friday Christmas Eve in connection with an investigation into illegal bird trapping in the very early morning hours in Zygi, Larnaca district.
Activists from CABS in Cyprus published a Tweet on Monday highlighting the previously-unreported incident. According to police, a female conservationist called the Zygi station at 2am saying there was a male in the area trying to trap wild birds.
After police arrived at the scene, they found two activists keeping an eye on the male suspect who appeared to be trying to trap birds with nets.
The man allegedly grabbed the officer by the collar, then by the uniform, and then he grabbed his hand, while pulling him and verbally assaulting him, until the two suspects left together
CNA said the male suspect in his early 40’s was joined by another man in his early 50’s, with the two appearing to know each other.
“The older male physically assaulted the police officer in an attempt to intimidate him,” the report said.
CNA also said the 51-year-old man allegedly grabbed the officer by the collar, then by the uniform, and then he grabbed his hand, while pulling him and verbally assaulting him, until the two suspects left together.
On Saturday Christmas Day investigators managed to identify the two suspects who were quickly arrested but then released, with police pressing multiple charges including collusion, illegal bird trapping and killing, assaulting an officer, and criminal obstruction.
Last month a brutal attack in rural Famagusta against a conservation activist, who was assaulted by suspected illegal poachers in the dead of night, caught the attention MP Alexandra Attalides who said she would raise the issue before the internal affairs committee.
Attalides, who was one of a dozen individuals around the world last month honored by the US Department of State for their leadership, courage, and their impact in combating corruption, said she was “horrified and deeply saddened” over the assault.