Police abuse makes RoC a “Banana Republic” according to Greek Cypriots

Eight south Cyprus police officers were filmed assaulting handcuffed students but were acquitted in March 2009. The three-judge Nicosia Criminal Court ruled that the film could not be used in evidence and this judgement led to demonstrations outside the Nicosia courts where bananas were placed on the doorstep of the main criminal court building in Nicosia, in reference to a Banana Republic.

An appeal led to the officers being found guilty and they received sentences ranging from two months to one year suspended for three years. The officers are currently suspended on reduced pay while a police disciplinary committee looks into the case.

The only reason they were found guilty appears to be because the 43-minute amateur video recording showing the beating was leaked to Politis newspaper. Dr Yiannis Papageorgiou, the father to one of the students, said that “if we are no longer allowed to believe our eyes then I fear that justice has committed suicide.”

The argument for only giving the officers suspended sentences for lying about beating handcuffed students was that “first and foremost we weighed the fact that over half a decade has passed since the offences were committed and as a result the family and personal conditions of the defendants have significantly changed in the meantime.”

What on earth does that mean? They’re still guardians of the law who have perjured themselves in a court of law. Apparently this does not matter because of the officers’ “flawless previous life, their clean professional record and their (wrong) belief that by doing what they were accused of they genuinely contributed to maintaining public order.”

Fair enough, they believed that beating the students maintained public order, but they lied about what they did. How can this behaviour ever be justified in a police officer? According to the Greek Cypriot protesters, allowing this behaviour is a sign that the south is, in their words, a “Banana Republic.”

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