The family of Tansu Cidan, a Turkish Cypriot inmate whose dead body was discovered in his prison cell in south Nicosia, says their loved one was tortured for three days, while officials in the north are also casting doubt over the investigation by Greek Cypriot authorities.
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According to Turkish Cypriot media, officials in the north of the divided island are casting doubt over an investigation in the murder of an inmate currently being conducted in the south by authorities of the Republic of Cyprus.
Greek Cypriot police investigators say eight inmates including five Kurds from Turkey were detained as suspects on premeditated murder charges in the death of 41-year-old fellow inmate Tansu Cidan, whose body was taken to the morgue at Nicosia General Hospital last Thursday night following an incident under investigation.
Prison officials say Cidan was beaten to death by inmates on Thursday evening some time after a 5pm roll call, with one officer at the penitentiary reportedly saying he had seen the inmate a day earlier without any physical marks on his body. Another inmate reportedly said he had seen the victim walking in his subsection some 40 minutes before the incident.
'Whatever has been promised to this Kurdish prisoner to take the blame, shall remain behind the scenes' Atun said, adding the suspended officers 'will come out of this squeaky clean as white milk'
But Cidan’s wife has contradicted the official version of events, claiming her husband was tortured to death earlier.
According to Turkish Cypriot media, the victim’s wife this week said there were grievous bodily injuries on the body of her dead husband, with additional reports from the north claiming Cidan was cruelly beaten for three days.
Cidan’s mother reportedly also weighed in saying her son had horrible injuries, including black eyes, a broken nose, and several wounds throughout the body.
Cidan was pronounced dead in his cell by a prison medic on Thursday night at 9:15pm, while state forensic examiners were notified later to go straight to the morgue at Nicosia General Hospital where the body was taken for an autopsy.
Greek Cypriot investigators believe Cidan was murdered by vengeful inmates, while six prison officers and four staff have also been suspended pending a formal disciplinary investigation.
But Turkish Cypriot officials in the north are not buying the version of events offered by their counterparts in the south.
Ata Atun, a professor who has the ear of Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, was quoted in Turkish media as saying he did “not trust the Greek Cypriot justice system.”
Atun went on to make a prediction that Greek Cypriot prosecutors were planning to blame the murder on a Kurdish man from Turkey.
“Whatever has been promised to this prisoner of Kurdish background, who will be sentenced as a murderer, to take the blame shall remain behind the scenes,” Atun said, adding that Greek Cypriot officers who got suspended “will come out of this squeaky clean as white milk.”
Security camera footage from the ward reportedly shown by prison officers to police has reportedly recorded movement of suspects outside Cidan’s cell, including a man with a sheet over his face and body being walked to the cell.
But no direct footage has emerged of the physical assault.
The time of death has not been made known.