A suspect in the death of a Turkish Cypriot inmate in Nicosia has turned state witness after pleading guilty to criminal negligence and drug use, with prosecutors halting the arraignment process just before his third charge of manslaughter could be read out.
Local media said seven suspects were arraigned before a Nicosia judge on Tuesday in connection with the killing of 41-year-old inmate Tansu Cidan, a Turkish Cypriot felon who was beaten to death in late October.
Four defendants were described as fellow inmates while three were said to be prison officials.
Cypriot forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis has accused authorities of not being forthright in their investigation into Cidan’s death
One inmate, understood to have entered the witness protection program, faced three charges and pleaded to criminal negligence and use of methamphetamine.
But the lead prosecutor halted the arraignment process before the third charge of manslaughter could be read aloud in the courtroom, with the judge scheduling his sentencing on Thursday for the lesser offenses.
Three other inmates, including the main suspect who faces premeditated murder charges, were given time to study the documents.
In addition to the inmates, three prison wardens also appeared in the courtroom where they all pleaded not guilty to dereliction of duty along with one of them also denying criminal negligence for failing to check on the victim.
Cypriot forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis has accused authorities of not being forthright in their investigation into Cidan’s death.
Matsakis, who has defended a number of families of victims in the past, also raised questions about the prison’s forensic examiner, who gave the okay for Cidan’s body to be taken away without an official autopsy on site.