The main suspect in the death of a Turkish Cypriot inmate in Nicosia has leveled multiple accusations during a court appearance on Monday, when reporters also heard him screaming at police and asking to be transferred to a different jailhouse.
A Turkish national of Kurdish origin, who is the main suspect in the premeditated murder of an inmate last month at Nicosia Central Prisons, was in court on Monday when he raised a number of issues before Judge Loucas Paschalides who presided over the hearing.
The suspect is among a dozen inmates currently held outside prison in jail cells throughout Cyprus in connection with the death of 41-year-old fellow inmate Tansu Cidan, a Turkish Cypriot felon who was beaten to death in late October.
A total of 15 arrests have been made in the case, with the suspects including three prison officers who face charges of felony conspiracy, manslaughter, and dereliction of duty.
According to local media, after being sworn in, the suspect asked the judge if he could speak in his native language through a translator and also apologized for taking up the court’s time.
The suspect first took issue with being handcuffed with hands in the back as he was being transferred between the jailhouse and the courthouse.
“This thing the police are doing with the handcuffs is a violation of my human rights,” he said.
A police prosecutor weighed in telling the judge this was taking place for security and safety reasons, as well as because “some of the detainees are scared of the suspect.”
“Am I a suspect or a witness?” the Kurdish man asked.
The prosecution team clarified that he was a suspect in the case. Earlier, eleven other prisoners also appeared in the same courtroom but details about the seperate hearing were not immediately available.
“Why did they separate me from other suspects and why am I am appearing here alone?” the suspect replied.
Still speaking through a translator, the suspect went on to talk about “mind games” in reference to conditions he argued were being set up that “could create certain impressions about individuals and lead to a false understanding of their intentions.”
According to details heard in court, security camera footage, obtained from the prison ward but not shared with the public, show Cidan walking from his cell into the cell of the suspect in the morning of October 26.
Hours later in the afternoon a person with a sheet over his head and body is seen being walked into Cidan’s cell, with movements of other inmates also being recorded through the night of October 27 when it was determined that the victim was dead at 9:50pm.
During the hearing the suspect was well-mannered, report said, adding that towards the end as he was being taken away by anti-terrorism officers, he became hostile. As the suspect was being escorted back to the police van, reporters heard him lashing out at officers, screaming and asking to be taken to a different jailhouse.
It later emerged that the suspect had a beef with a male cop over a Friend Request the officer had sent to the detainee’s girlfriend on social media.
According to Philenews, police officials confirmed that the suspect had made a “verbal complaint” against an officer at the jailhouse in Lakatamia, a western suburb of Nicosia where the detainee was being held.
Additional reports said after the suspect’s girlfriend went to visit him in jail, she received a Friend Request on Facebook from a police officer at the Lakatamia facility.
No complaint has been officially filed regarding the issue but Philenews said police officials have confirmed an allegation was made by the suspect.
“We are aware of what has been alleged, we are evaluating the claims and remain ready to handle the issue pending an official complaint,” an official was quoted as saying.
Two prison deaths ten days apart
Ten days after Cidan’s death, a 36-year-old pretrial detainee was also found dead in Nicosia Central Prisons.
Police did not disclose any information about the individual or his court case but prison officials said they ruled out foul play.
Knews has been unable to ascertain when the individual was remanded in custody or how much time he had spent behind bars. Sources have revealed only the calendar year 2022 as the time the man was jailed.