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23 July, 2024
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Indictment refiled in Al-Jazeera case as AG addresses Thanasis case

Attorney General confirms progress in high-profile media case while discussing efforts to resolve National Guardsman's death investigation

Newsroom / CNA

Attorney General George Savvides has confirmed the re-filing of an indictment in the Al-Jazeera news network reportage case, stating that they have fulfilled their stated intentions.

During a press briefing following the ceremony for newly appointed lawyers at the Supreme Court, Savvides addressed criticisms of "obstructionism" or "hoodwinking," asserting that there was no such intent. He explained that the delay was a result of judiciary reforms, with some judges being promoted to the Court of Appeal, necessitating a fresh start to the case. The proceedings will commence with a new composition of the Criminal Courts.

Regarding the case of Thanasis Nikolaou, the Attorney General emphasized the diligent efforts of the current leadership of the Legal Service. Despite the challenging circumstances of the incident occurring 18 years ago, they strove to uncover the facts and identify any individuals involved in the tragic death of the National Guardsman. Savvides highlighted that the Legal Service appointed the requested criminal investigators, granted necessary extensions, and eventually formed an independent team of police officers to conduct thorough investigations within a specified timeframe. However, the final report did not uncover evidence linking anyone to the Guardsman's demise.

Savvides acknowledged that, at the family's request, they have provided all the evidence and maintained continuous communication with the family's lawyer. He revealed that the family intends to pursue private criminal cases based on their own assessment, which is their right under constitutional provisions and subject to the control of the Attorney General.

When questioned about the family's decision, Savvides declined to pass judgment on its merits, emphasizing that their office had decided not to pursue criminal charges themselves. He expressed that they would monitor the developments in the case as the family proceeds with their chosen course of action.

Regarding the autonomy of the Legal Service, Savvides stated that the relevant bill has been presented in Parliament, and the parties have taken positions on the matter. The Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs is expected to reconvene for detailed discussions on the bill. Savvides expressed his belief that the legislation aligns with both the Constitution and the role of the Legal Service, and he anticipates that all parties will support its adoption, leading to its establishment as law in the Republic of Cyprus.

When asked about the timeline for the bill's progress, the Attorney General deferred to Parliament, expressing his desire for its swift implementation.

Cyprus  |  legal  |  crime

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