Posts Tagged ‘KISA’

Good breaking news from Cyprus: HRD Doros Polycarpou acquitted!

June 5, 2012

Today, 5 June 2012, Doros Polycarpou, the Executive Director of Cypriot anti-racist NGO KISA, was acquitted of the charge of rioting during the 2010 Rainbow Festival in Larnaca. This decision is final and is not open for appeal. The judge found the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses to be not credible. The Observatory for Human Rights  Defenders (OMCT-FIDH joint project) had sent Cretan lawyer Costaz Gazis as trial observer.

This ruling confirms the view of a wide coalition of international NGOs that the accusations were manifestly false and were an attempt by the Cypriot authorities to silence KISA, an organisation that has being fighting xenophobia and racism in Cyprus for 14 years.

The same NGOs deplore that, despite repeated requests to the Attorney General and the Council of Ministers, no independent investigation was carried out about the events that occurred in Larnaca in 2010, in particular with respect to the alleged failure of police to protect the Rainbow Festival’s participants. More than a year and a half later, no one has been charged with the crimes which resulted in serious injuries and hospitalisation of people who participated in the Festival. The evidence points to the fact that attackers were motivated by xenophobia and racism.

The organisations mentioned below add that they regret the charges were not withdrawn earlier and urge the Cypriot authorities to use the occasion of Doros Polycarpou’s acquittal to mark the beginning of new cooperation between the Cyprus state and human rights defenders.

Signatories

European Association for Human Rights/ Association Européenne des droits de l’Homme (AEDH)

Euro-Mediterranean Network for Human Rights

European Network Against Racism

Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Programme

Front Line Defenders

Migreurop

Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (joint programme OMCT-FIDH)

Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants