Solidarity Action in support of KISA Cyprus

Solidarity Action for KISA Cyprus

We keep following the situation in Cyprus after the heinous bomb attack against KISA premises on January the 5th (you can find more info here.
The attack is clearly another awful consequence of the cruel campaign of criminalisation of NGOs work, unfortunately happening in Cyprus and in many other countries.
As a proof of such a worrying attitude, KISA itself is facing another unfair challenge, this time at the hands of prosecuting authorities, referring to a case happened in 2019.

What happened

On 2nd of August of that year the then Executive Director ok KISA, Doros Polykarpou, intervened in defense of a 16yo boy of Romanian origin who had been blocked outside KISA offices by a police officer (known for his inappropriate and violent attitude in a series of previous occurrences), causing an altercation with loud voices that alerted KISA personnel and neighbours alike.
Mr Polykarpou approached the scene and, while the officer was on the radio checking the young person’s details, he asked the young man his age and after knowing he was 16 he told him not to worry and to call his father since he is a minor.
The police officer then concluded his conversation on the radio and immediately asked Mr Polykarpou in a strong tone to leave the scene. When Mr Polykarpou replied that he had the right to remain at the spot and watch what was going on, the police officer replied that he was under arrest. He was then taken in handcuffs to the Nicosia Central Police Station, where he was charged with Obstructing a Police Officer in violation of Article 244(b) of the Criminal Code. Initially the police also charged him with attempting to evade lawful arrest but then dropped the charge.
After a hearing on 21.12.2023, the court fully accepted as credible the testimony of the police officer and found Mr Polykarpou guilty of obstructing the police officer in the performance of his duties, an offence that, according to the Criminal Code, carries a maximum two-year prison sentence. This sentence is not automatically imposed since, as per Article 29 of the Criminal Code, the court has the discretion to impose a shorter prison sentence or a fine. The sentence will be announced by the court on 15.01.2024.

KISA Statement

“KISA considers that this new development is another episode of the ongoing attempt of the state and prosecution authorities, among many other tools they have used so far, to intimidate KISA and its members through the criminalization of its members’ actions, in order to limit or even stop the organisation’s action for the protection of human rights in Cyprus. It is noted that to date Mr Polykarpou has been prosecuted in several different cases in connection with his actions as a KISA official and activist and has been acquitted after hearing processes in all cases.”.
You can read the full KISA statement here.

We stand in Solidarity

We at UNITED stand strongly in support of KISA and of Mr. Polykarpou as we’re ready to support their upcoming actions following the sentencing.
We cannot possibly accept the criminalisation of #humanrights defenders, especially in a world where human rights violation is becoming the rule instead.
So thank you KISA for your bravery. We’re proud to stand with you! ✊